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Title: 'Teatro di poesia' in the opera house : the collaboration of Antonio Smareglia and Silvio Benco
Author: Licinic, Juliana
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis attempts to demonstrate Smareglia’s place in Italian opera at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by means of a study of Smareglia’s last three operas. An investigation of the unusual subjects and singular atmosphere of Falena, Oceana and Abisso shows their outstanding originality, and suggests that they belong to a “poetic theatre” created by the composer in collaboration with Silvio Benco. The study explores the cultural background in which Smareglia worked. Since both Smareglia and Benco have to a large extent fallen into obscurity, and are hardly remembered in the history of opera, the first three chapters serve to introduce the two artists and define the scope of the material included in this study. The principal focus of the thesis is provided by the three operas. An examination of their peculiar and novel plots shows that Smareglia’s musicality was stimulated by the literary taste of his librettist. Furthermore, it will be seen how in his reaction to Benco’s undramatic stories and atmospheric settings, Smareglia moved away from the tastes and fashions of Italian opera of the period as exemplified in the work of his better known contemporary, Giacomo Puccini. The style of Benco’s libretti and Smareglia’s musical language show how the two artists gave musical aspects priority over dramatic ones in their determination to create a new style of opera. Absorbed in the climate of Symbolism and Decadence, they were at their best when creating what had come to be called a “teatro di poesia”. The research seeks to demonstrate how valuable Smareglia’s contribution to the operatic repertory was: Falena, Oceana and Abisso are more original and imaginative than most of the operas written by his Italian contemporaries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available