Il Verismo tra letteratura e musica



This lecture at San Francisco State University addressed the affinities and contrasts between literary and operatic realism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the era of the giovane scuola and the verismo movement. How are Giovanni Verga’s literary concerns manifested in Pietro Mascagni’s opera? To what degree does Mascagni’s opera share Verga’s regressive ideology, within the “romance” of social change? These questions led to more specific observations about Mascagni’s music in relation to some of his contemporaries like Puccini and Leoncavallo. Our discussion involved philosophical matters as well, such as the extent to which music can “signify,” and in a comparative context of literature, whether music can enact similar shifts in “voice” or represent conditions of subjectivity or objectivity. We explored how Mascagni re-thinks the older notion of operatic “song” and the popular notion that Mascagni and Puccini reconciled “realist” aesthetics and legacies of the Italian operatic tradition.


Guest lecture, Italian seminar 880
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA; Oct 2012

Il Verismo tra letteratura e musica