Nicolini and the Development of Metastasio’s Dramatic and Aesthetic Approach to the dramma per musica: ‘La diversità de’ caratteri degli uomini’

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

The proposed paper constitutes a sequel to my 2014 ICBM paper, ‘Nicolini and Metastasio’s Meteoric Rise to Fame’, in which I established the crucial importance of the work of the famous castrato, Nicola Grimaldi ‘Nicolini’, both as a singer-actor and as a director, for the early career of Metastasio.
My paper investigates Nicolini’s influence on Metastasio’s dramatic and aesthetic approach to the dramma per musica. Whilst the nature of singers’ contributions to the dramma per musica has been debated for some time, the view that they did not make authorial contributions to libretti and scores (Strohm, 2002) remains widespread among musicologists. However, the fact that dramatic characteristics of Nicolini’s roles and the drammi per musica he arranged and directed prior to working with Metastasio also abound in the Metastasian roles he created suggests that the vastly experienced star singer exerted considerable influence on the conception of Siface (1723), Didone abbandonata (1724), Siroe (1726), Ezio (1728) and Semiramide riconosciuta (1729). Further comparison with later drammi by Metastasio indicates that dramatic and rhetorical devices that were typical of Nicolini’s work became firmly established elements of the poet’s style. At the same time, changes administered to Metastasian libretti in subsequent productions led by Nicolini as well as Metastasio’s own revisions of his libretti for publication reveal the differences between the two artists’ aesthetics. They also shed light on the fascinating relationship between the two parallel lives of the dramma, i.e., as a commodity in the operatic production process and a literary work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2016
Event17th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music - Canterbury Christ Church University, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Jul 201617 Jul 2016

Conference

Conference17th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period13/07/1617/07/16

Keywords

  • Nicola Grimaldi Nicolini
  • Metastasio
  • Opera seria
  • Opera direction
  • 18th-Century Opera

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nicolini and the Development of Metastasio’s Dramatic and Aesthetic Approach to the dramma per musica: ‘La diversità de’ caratteri degli uomini’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this