Networking Operatic Italy
A study of the networks of opera production and critical discourse that shaped Italian cultural identity during and after Unification.
Opera’s role in shaping Italian identity has long fascinated both critics and scholars. Whereas the romance of the Risorgimento once spurred analyses of how individual works and styles grew out of and fostered specifically “Italian” sensibilities and modes of address, more recently scholars have discovered the ways in which opera has animated Italians’ social and cultural life in myriad different local contexts.
In Networking Operatic Italy, Francesca Vella reexamines this much-debated topic by exploring how, where, and why opera traveled on the mid-nineteenth-century peninsula, and what this mobility meant for opera, Italian cities, and Italy alike. Focusing on the 1850s to the 1870s, Vella attends to opera’s encounters with new technologies of transportation and communication, as well as its continued dissemination through newspapers, wind bands, and singing human bodies. Ultimately, this book sheds light on the vibrancy and complexity of nineteenth-century Italian operatic cultures, challenging many of our assumptions about an often exoticized country.