ITA 2243B Italian Opera- Words and Music



ITA 2243B Italian Opera- Words and Music
 The University of Western Ontario
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
ITA 2243B
Italian Opera: Words and Music
Winter 2016
Dr. Maria Laura Mosco
[email protected]
Tentative (Updated, July 28, 2015)
(Unofficial Blog of the Italian Program)
Anti-requisites: none
Course description: What do pop music, soap opera, videogames and Italian opera have
in common?… Love, death, desire, honour, betrayal, power. In Italian Opera: Words and
Music student will learn the linguistic and literary specificity of Italian libretti, while
exploring the major themes of riveting Italian operas. This course will investigate some
major Italian libretti in the operatic repertoire from the birth of this genre to nowadays,
looking in particular at their stylistic and linguistic differences. The exploration of the
historical, political, and cultural context in general, will provide students with the
necessary background to fully comprehend the development of the form of the libretto
since its appearance in theatrical performances in Italian courts in the sixteenth century.
The investigation of the interplay among librettists, composers, impresarios, singers,
critics, and last but not least, the audience, will have a pivotal role in understanding the
evolution of the genre. Questions such as literary dignity of the libretti , poetry vs music
and the role of the audience, the changing role of the librettists through time, and the
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Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
dispute variation vs adaptation will be also addressed. The relation with video gaming
and advertising will also be discussed.
A selection of texts by, among others, Alessandro Striggio, Silvio Stampiglio, Pietro
Metastasio, Lorenzo Da Ponte, Francesco Maria Piave, Arrigo Boito, Nino Rota and
Ernesta Rinaldi Rota, will be considered.
No specific literary, music, or Italian knowledge is required. Taught in English with
tutorial in English, and in Italian (only for students of the Italian programme). Students
will also be able to enjoy guest lectures by experts from diverse areas.
- Guide students through trends and genres of Italian Opera, such as favola in musica,
intermezzo, opera seria, opera buffa, dramma lirico
- Guide the students into understanding the linguistic and literary specificity of Italian
libretti across time
- Exploring the major themes of Italian operas such as love, death, desire, honour,
Learning outcomes:
- Acquire a basic knowledge of the significant Italian librettists and composers from the
XVI century to XXI century
- Identify and analyse the specific traits of the libretto form and its development through
- Understand how the historical, social and cultural conditions influenced the writing of
the librettos and Italian Opera in general.
Libretti that will be considered
La favola di Orfeo
Favola in musica
Il Giasone. Dramma per musica
Giacinto Andrea
Gennaro Antonio
Giovan Battista
Le nozze di Figaro. Commedia per
Lorenzo Da Ponte
W. A. Mozart
La clemenza di Tito. Opera seria. KV
Pietro Metastasio/
W. A. Mozart
La serva padrona. Intermezzo in due
Il barbiere di Siviglia.
La precauzione inutile
Dramma giocoso in due atti
Alessandro Striggio
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Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Caterino Mazzolà
Il barbiere di Siviglia
(Almaviva, o sia l'inutile precauzione)
Dramma comico.
Rigoletto. Melodramma in tre atti.
Cesare Sterbini
Francesco Maria
Giovanni Targioni –
Felice Romani
Arrigo Boito
Giuseppe Verdi
Cavalleria rusticana
Commedia lirica in tre atti.
Il cappello di paglia di Firenze
Lars Cleen
Giuseppe Giacosa,
Luigi Illica,
Victorien Sardou
Ernesta Rinaldi/Nino
Walter Zidarič
Pietro Mascagni
Vincenzo Bellini
Giuseppe Verdi
Giacomo Puccini
Nino Rota
Paolo Rosato
Textbook: A reader will be available at the bookstore, and a list of online resource will
be available open source or via the Western Library Catalogue.
Class Participation 10%
Mid-term test 20%
Final test 20%
Tutorial: 10%
Course reading presentation and written synopsis: 15%
Research paper 25%
Total: 100% Common statement for all MLL courses on academic accommodation, academic
offenses, support services.
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Policies which govern
the conduct, standards, and expectations for student participation in Modern
Languages and Literatures courses is available in the Undergraduate section of the
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures website
at It is your responsibility to
understand the policies set out by the Senate and the Department of Modern Languages
and Literatures, and thus ignorance of these policies cannot be used as grounds of appeal.
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Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Missed Assignments
Students seeking academic accommodation on medical or non-medical grounds for any
missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments must apply to the
Academic Counseling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation.
Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.
Please refer to the Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness and download a Student Medical
Certificate (SMC):

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