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Laughter between Two Revolutions


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This study represents the first substantial assessment of Italian comic operas composed during the central years of the Risorgimento -- the period during which upheavals, revolutions, and wars ultimately led to the liberation and unification of Italy. Music historians often view the period as one during which serious Romantic opera flourished in Italy while opera buffa inexorably declined.
Laughter between Two Revolutions revises this widespread notion by viewing well-known comic masterpieces -- such as Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843) -- as part of a still-thriving tradition. Also examined are opere buffe by Luigi Ricci, Lauro Rossi, Verdi (Un giorno di regno), and others, many of which circulated widely at the time. Francesco Izzo's pathbreaking study argues that in the "realm of seriousness" of mid-nineteenth-century Italy, comedy was not an anachronistic intruder, but a significant and vital cultural presence.
This important volume offers new insights into opera history and theories of comedy in the arts. It will be of interest to opera lovers everywhere and to students in music, philosophy, comparative literature, and Italian cultural studies. Francesco Izzo is senior lecturer in music at the University of Southampton.


Shed[s] light on some of the possible implications of such works within the larger political context. A refreshingly multifaceted picture of post-Rossinian opera buffa . . . that emerges as complex and tension-imbued as it could be. [Historical accounts need to consider] the lively, anti-defeatist voices and vital operatic tradition [that] Izzo has recovered and delivered to us. MUSIC & LETTERS [Frances Vella]

Izzo provides an enlightening, often entertaining corrective to the common notion tt the music of the early Romantic period in Italy was exclusively dour, serious, and grim, with exceedingly few new works of brilliant light comedy. At the same time, he provides an informative overview of the nuanced changes in style and structure of the comic genre and of the broader political and social context. --Gabriele Dotto, co-general editor, Le Opere di Gaetano Donizetti


First Published: 01 Dec 2013
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580462938
10 black and white, 15 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 318
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Opera Buffa in 1832: Il nuovo Figaro and L'elisir d'amore
  • 3  The Ricci Supremacy and the Celebration of Italian Comedy: Un'avventura di Scaramuccia (1834)
  • 4  Old Librettos Revisited: Gaetano Rossi and Luigi Ricci's Le nozze di Figaro (1838) and Other Remakes
  • 5  Genre in Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale (1843)
  • 6  Genre in Giovanni Peruzzini and Lauro Rossi's Il borgomastro di Schiedam (1844)
  • 7  "Evviva la Francia"? Nationality, Censorship, and Donizetti's La figlia del reggimento (1840)
  • 8  Conclusion: The Ricci Legacy, Crispino e la comare (1850), and Post-1848 Opera Buffa
  • 9  Notes
  • 10  Selected Bibliography
  • 11  Index


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Verdi in America

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