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Verdi, Opera, Women


Part of Cambridge Studies in Opera

  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316639573

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About the Authors
  • Verdi's operas - composed between 1839 and 1893 - portray a striking diversity of female protagonists: warrior women and peacemakers, virgins and courtesans, princesses and slaves, witches and gypsies, mothers and daughters, erring and idealised wives, and, last of all, a feisty quartet of Tudor townswomen in Verdi's final opera, Falstaff. Yet what meanings did the impassioned crises and dilemmas of these characters hold for the nineteenth-century female spectator, especially during such a turbulent span in the history of the Italian peninsula? How was opera shaped by society - and was society similarly influenced by opera? Contextualising Verdi's female roles within aspects of women's social, cultural and political history, Susan Rutherford explores the interface between the reality of the spectators' lives and the imaginary of the fictional world before them on the operatic stage.

    • Situates Verdi's heroines within the social, cultural and political history of their period, appealing to readers who want to develop their contextual understanding of opera and Italian history
    • Presents a rounded view of opera, drawing on theatre historiography and theory as well as music
    • Proposes an alternative approach to Verdi's operas, from a gender studies perspective
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Highly informative.' Classical Music

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316639573
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 11 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue: Verdi and his audience
    1. War
    2. Prayer
    3. Romance
    4. Sexuality
    5. Marriage
    6. Death
    7. Laughter

  • Author

    Susan Rutherford, University of Manchester
    Susan Rutherford is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Manchester. Among various essays on voice, performance and nineteenth-century Italian opera, her publications also include The New Woman and her Sisters: Feminism and Theatre, 1850–1914 (co-editor, 1992), and The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815–1930 (Cambridge, 2006), which received the 2007 Pauline Alderman Award (IAWM) for research on women and music.

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