Puccini’s Soundscapes

Realism and Modernity in Italian Opera

Arman Schwartz

Puccini’s Soundscapes

Arman Schwartz

Distributed for Paul Holberton Publishing

180 pages | 9 1/4 x 6 3/4
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9788822264473 Published October 2018
From the bells in Tosca and the birdcalls in Madame Butterfly to the horns and sirens in Il tabarro and the music box melodies that inspired Turandot, Puccini’s operas rely to an unprecedented degree on realistic and seemingly unmediated acoustic objects. Focusing on this pervasive if little discussed aspect of the composer’s art, Puccini’s Soundscapes uses the twin categories of sound and realism to rethink the shape of Puccini’s career, and to offer new interpretations of many of his major works, as well as those of his contemporaries. It asks how Italian composers responded to some of the fundamental transformations of auditory culture during the fin-de-siècle, and resituates their works within the discourses (aesthetic, political, and technological) of Italian modernity. Proposing a dialogue between musicology and sound studies, Puccini’s Soundscapes offers new ways of listening to major artistic movements from Naturalism to Futurism, and asks how late Romantic opera might contribute to a broader statement of the values of musical modernism.
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