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The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195365870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195365870.001.0001

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Divas and Sonnets

Divas and Sonnets

Poetry for Female Singers in Teatri arti e letteratura

(p.3) Chapter 1 Divas and Sonnets
The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century

Francesco Izzo

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates an early form of media culture familiar to prima donnas active in the early and mid-nineteenth century: poetry published in Italian newspapers and journals that sang the praises of women on the lyric stage. Appearing as early as the late-seventeenth century, this encomiastic poetry developed a fixed presence outside the opera house, and by the opening of the nineteenth century could be read in the periodical press by anyone willing to purchase newspapers or with access to them in coffeehouses and other venues. This relatively new form of dissemination opened up innovative functions for these verses which could now serve not only as ephemeral tributes to great performances, but also as durable promotional tools helping to bulk up a season’s box-office receipts, and as a means to establish permanent legacies for individual prima donnas.

Keywords:   poetry, encomiastic, newspapers, verses, tributes, promotional tools

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