First published in 1991. At once poet, dramatist, adaptor and translator, the operatic librettist in turn expresses and mocks social convention. Deirdre O'Grady's study of the Italian operatic librettist identifies opera as a mirror of literary climates, popular taste and political aspirations. The Last Troubadours traces the history of the Italian libretto from its courtly origin in the 16th century, through the crisis of the aristocracy and the 19th-century struggle for national unity, to the birth of social realism. Fundamental elements of Italian opera - heroic valour, cunning servants, revolutionary ardour and romantic tenderness - are considered in their historical and cultural context. Also discussed are famous lyrical and musical collaborations - of Da Ponte and Mozart, Solera and Verdi, Romani and Bellini, and Boito and Verdi.
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