Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Verdi reception in Milan, 1859-1881 : memory, progress and Italian identity
Author: Vella, Francesca
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 1490
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis explores Verdi reception in Milan during 1859-81, particularly in connection with contemporary notions of italianità. It seeks to shed light on specifically Milanese representations of ‘Italianness’, investigating how attitudes to music, and opera in particular, reflected attempts at constructing and negotiating both local and national identities. By placing Verdi within a larger urban picture, this thesis offers a cultural history – one focused on music and Italian identity – of Milan during the period. The thesis is comprised of four case studies. Chapter One addresses discourse about Verdi and Italian politics during 1859-61, further framing the discussion within a broader historical and historiographical purview. Chapter Two investigates the Milanese premiere of Don Carlo in 1868 in relation to the contemporary spread and perceptions of national monuments. Chapter Three considers the critical reception of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem for Alessandro Manzoni in 1874, suggesting that the binary rhetoric that underpinned the debates was a ‘political’ tool for negotiating musical notions of Italian identity. Finally, Chapter Four examines critical discourse about Verdi-Boito’s revised Simon Boccanegra and the revivals of various operas in Milan in 1881, discussing them in connection with that year’s National Industrial Exhibition and with the interpretative framework of the Operatic Museum. This study overall suggests a revised, more nuanced narrative about late nineteenth-century Verdi, opera and Italy. If, on the one hand, Milan’s contemporary culture maintained a strong awareness of its past, on the other, it was increasingly concerned with defining itself by construing images of the future. Far from representing merely the last epigone of Italy’s past – vocal, ‘melodic’ – musical tradition, Verdi came, in the eyes of Milanese critics, to embody ideas of musical innovation. Concepts of progress and change were indeed as deeply embedded in the contemporary imagination as were concepts of crisis and nostalgia of the past.
Supervisor: Parker, Roger Leslie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available