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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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Che vuol cantare? The Lesson Scene of Il barbiere di Siviglia

Che vuol cantare? The Lesson Scene of Il barbiere di Siviglia

(p.135) Chapter 5 Che vuol cantare? The Lesson Scene of Il barbiere di Siviglia
Changing the Score

Hilary Poriss

Oxford University Press

In contrast with the other bel canto operas that were able to continuously circulate along the repertory, and unlike the scenes in those operas that used to be often subjected to interpolations and substitutions, the lesson scene of Il barbiere di Siviglia still served as a venue for aria insertion. As the tradition of substituting a new aria into the lesson scene became a common practice, this scene allows the analysis of the post-historical account of aria insertion. This long-standing aria-insertion practice poses a new question: how do these singers carry on with the tradition of changing a composer’s score once the practice is considered extinct? This chapter identifies the possible responses to the question as this provides the opportunity for singers to manipulate the text more. The chapter points out how the prima donnas no longer take stylistic consistency into account because they choose arias that do not suit the texture of Rosini’s score.

Keywords:   bel canto operas, interpolations, substitutions, lesson scene, barbiere di Siviglia, aria insertion, stylistic consistency

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