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MusicPart of Humanities

Laughter Between Two Revolutions

Published: 25 November 2013

Dr Francesco Izzo, Senior Lecturer in Music, has just published a new book that substantially revises understandings of the history of opera in 19th-century Italy.

In Laughter Between Two Revolutions: Opera Buffa in Italy 1831-1848, which appears in the Eastman Studies in Music series from Rochester University Press, he explores Italian comic operas composed during the central years of the Risorgimento -- the period during which upheavals, revolutions, and wars ultimately led to the liberation and unification of Italy.

Music historians often view the period as one during which serious Romantic opera flourished in Italy while opera buffa inexorably declined. Laughter between Two Revolutions challenges this widespread notion by viewing well-known masterpieces -- such as Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843) -- as part of a still-thriving tradition. Also examined are opere buffe by Luigi Ricci, Lauro Rossi, Verdi (Un giorno di regno), and others, many of which circulated widely at the time. Izzo's pathbreaking study argues that in the "realm of seriousness" of mid-nineteenth-century Italy, comedy was not an anachronistic intruder, but a significant and vital cultural presence.

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