[UCP Books]: The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi by Abramo Basevi

“This translation is polished, elegant, and eminently accessible to a modern reader. Castelvecchi provides a strong introduction, a wealth of explanatory notes, and a glossary that together make The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi a thoroughly engaging and vastly informative book, granting access to a fundamental nineteenth-century source for opera students and lovers.”
Francesco Izzo, University of Southampton



Abramo Basevi

Translated by Edward Schneider with Stefano Castelvecchi
Edited by Stefano Castelvecchi


US Publication Date: May 1, 2014 UK Publication Date: June 2, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-09491-5 Cloth $55.00/£38.50


Abramo Basevi published his study of Verdi’s operas in Florence in 1859, at the height of the composer’s career. The first in-depth, systematic examination of Verdi’s operas, it covered the twenty works produced between 1842 and 1857—from Nabucco and Macbeth to Rigoletto, La traviata, and Simon Boccanegra. But while Basevi’s book is still widely cited and discussed—and nowhere more so than in the English-speaking world—no complete translation has previously been available. The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi fills this gap, at the same time providing an invaluable critical apparatus and commentary on Basevi’s work.

As a contemporary of Verdi and a trained musician, erudite scholar, and critic conversant with current and past operatic repertoires, Basevi presented pointed discussion of the operas and their historical context, offering today’s readers a unique window onto many aspects of operatic culture, and culture in general, in Verdi’s Italy. He wrote with precision on formal aspects, use of melody and orchestration, and other compositional features, which made his study an acknowledged model for the growing field of music criticism. Carefully annotated and with an engaging introduction and detailed glossary by Stefano Castelvecchi, this translation illuminates Basevi’s musical and historical references as well as aspects of his language that remain difficult to grasp even for Italian readers.

Abramo Basevi (1818–85) was a composer, music promoter, scholar, and critic who played a major role in the cultural life of nineteenth-century Florence. He published extensively on music and philosophy and founded the periodical L’armonia, where his study of Verdi’s operas first appeared. Stefano Castelvecchi is a lecturer in music at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. He has published critical editions of works by Rossini and Verdi and is the author of Sentimental Opera: Questions of Genre in the Age of Bourgeois Drama. Edward Schneider studied music at Oxford and has translated several books on music and cooking. He was an editor at United Nations Headquarters.

Please contact Rose Rittenhouse at (773) 702-0376 or rittenhouse@press.uchicago.edu for more information.


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