[UCP Books]: The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi by Abramo Basevi
Francesco Izzo, University of Southampton
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engaging introduction and detailed glossary by Stefano Castelvecchi, this translation illuminates Basevi’s musical and historical references as well as aspects of his language that remain difficult to grasp even for Italian readers.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.
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