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Changing the ScoreArias, Prima Donnas, and the Authority of Performance$
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Hilary Poriss

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386714

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386714.001.0001

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A Discourse of Change

A Discourse of Change

(p.13) Chapter 1 A Discourse of Change
Changing the Score

Hilary Poriss

Oxford University Press

One of the scenes of Donizetti’s melodrama comico, Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali, which is an opera about an opera, depicts some of the main characters asserting that all of their roles be given special arias. Because art is believed to imitate life, this scene poses hints of mockery and embraces the fact that singers would indeed ask composers and librettists to highlight their roles, preferably by providing them with opportunities for solo displays. Through an analysis of the play’s textual history, we observe that each version of the opera showed different interpretations. This chapter introduces the notion of a Neopolitan farse, where the original dialect had to be altered if performed outside Naples; thus, some of its meaning has been altered as well. This chapter attempts to examine the complicated discourse of aria insertion, or the lack of it, across Italian opera productions in the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   aria insertion, melodrama comico, inconvenienze teatrali, Neopolitan farse, Italian opera productions

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