9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Study Session: Baroque Music and Themes of Contemporary Arts: Thoughts on Their Relationships

Elena Sala di Felice

with Rosy Candiani, Anthony Deldonna, Paologiovanni Maione, and Francesco Cotticelli

As an experimental genre, early opera had to resort to the themes, imagery and rich repertoire of the more established arts. The session proposed aims at illustrating the numerous connections which can be traced between the contemporary artistic and intellectual productions and their reflections in the works of musicians who contributed to the rapid spread of melodrama all over Europe. The papers will cover a wide range of cultural circumstances, historic developments and major events, based on different methodological approaches and linguistic areas. Elena Sala Di Felice (University of Cagliari, I) will deal with the myth of Alexander the Great during the baroque age until Metastasio’s Re Pastore, showing how librettos manipulated all classic sources over the years. The presence of the ancient story of Cupid and Psyche in the seventeenth-century  European literature and iconography as well as in the musical theatre will be examined by Rosy Candiani, an independent scholar from Milan, while Francesco Cotticelli (University of Naples, I) will give a paper about the still unacknowledged relationships between the picturesque world of professional comedians and early opera, drawing attention to the plot of the Emperor Nero in the improvised scenari which apparently served as a basis for Busenello’s poetry and other texts. Finally, zooming in on a specific context, Paologiovanni Maione, from the Conservatorio di Avellino, I, will discuss the transformations of venues in Naples throughout the Seicento from “stanze di commedia” to opera houses, which mirror the significant changes in the social status of singers, while Anthony R. Deldonna (Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA) will analyze to what extent the 17th-century Neapolitan religious life affected musical practices. The coexistence of music with other forms of entertainment reveals that it is to be found also where it seems to fall into the deepest silence or where the social and artistic milieu tends to hide its splendor. Interdisciplinary views intend to be a tribute to musicology and offer suggestions for further research.

Conference Timetable
List of Participants
Last updated on 3 April 2000 by Yo Tomita