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Recognition in Mozart's Operas$
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Jessica Waldoff

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151978.001.0001

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Sentimental Knowledge in La finta giardiniera

Sentimental Knowledge in La finta giardiniera

(p.104) 4 Sentimental Knowledge in La finta giardiniera
Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Jessica Waldoff

Oxford University Press

More than any other of Mozart's operas, La finta giardiniera (The Pretend Garden Girl), draws on a culture and an archetype virtually unknown today: the culture is that of sensibility and the archetype that of the giardiniera to which the title refers — the sentimental heroine of Carlo Goldoni's and Niccolò Piccinni's wildly popular La buona figliuola. Both Piccinni's opera and Mozart's belong to a circle of works loosely based on Richardson's sentimental novel Pamela. Giardiniera has often been disparaged for its convoluted and somewhat static plot, but this chapter argues that it needs to be read as Dr. Johnson recommends we read Richardson: “for the sentiment”. Supposed inconsistencies and implausibilities, including mad scenes for the central protagonists, are considered here as opportunities to indulge in feeling, a staple of the sentimental genres.

Keywords:   La finta giardiniera, La buona figlioula, Pamela, Niccolò Piccinni, Richardson, sensibility, sentimental heroine, mad scenes

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