‘Actio, inquam, in dicendo una dominatur’: Rhetoric, Composition and Performance in the 18th-Century dramma per musica

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

In the last two decades, scholars of performance studies such as Auslander and Cook have been seeking to bridge the artificial gap between music, which has traditionally been understood in philological terms as musical texts or works, and performance. However, the concurrent interest in the application of rhetoric to 18th-century music has continued to centre on works and their authors, using rhetoric as a tool for analysing composers’ thought processes and the musical features of works even though performance (actio), rather than composition (inventio and dispositio), was regarded as the most important stage of the rhetorical process from antiquity until the early modern era.
By mapping the production process of the early 18th-century dramma per musica onto the stages of rhetoric, I will demonstrate that rhetoric constitutes a highly useful approach to conceptualising music as an integrated process and examining the complex relationship between composition and performance. A case study of the three operas performed in the 1730 carnival season at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice will serve as a starting point for questioning the validity of the traditional paradigms of the composer-author and the performer-interpreter for 18th-century opera and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2018
EventRoyal Musical Association Annual Meeting - University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Sep 201815 Sep 2018

Conference

ConferenceRoyal Musical Association Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBristol
Period13/09/1815/09/18

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