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RossiniHis Life and Works$
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Richard Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181296.001.0001

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La gazza ladra and the Semiseria Style

La gazza ladra and the Semiseria Style

(p.251) Chapter Twenty-Nine La gazza ladra and the Semiseria Style

Richard Osborne

Oxford University Press

In all other respects the operas are complementary, contrasted versions of the semiseria genre, with its unpredictable mix of comedy, drama, melodrama, and incipient tragedy. The orderliness which the Milan judges had noted in Giovanni Gherardini’s work was a particular virtue in the case of La gazza ladra. The story centers on a country community, subject to the king but dominated by its bustling, sadistic mayor, a kind of rustic Scarpia. There are times when, by recognizing its roots in French melodrame, La gazza ladra ends up anticipating the Italian verismo style. In most other respects La gazza ladra is an opera formulated on classical lines. There are no flights of musico-ornithological fancy for the eponymous magpie, nor are Gioachino Rossini’s own forms—duets, trios, set-piece finales, and the like—sacrificed to short-term considerations of realism.

Keywords:   semiseria genre, tragedy, Milan, Giovanni Gherardini, Gioachino Rossini, duets, realism

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