"Scrivere a gusti del popolo". L'Arte Nuevo di Lope de Vega nell'Italia del Seicento

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The influence of Spanish Theater from the siglo de oro on Italian Seventeenth-century opera is stil an open question. Librettists (for example, G. F. Busenello in his Didone of 1641) speak of "Spanish customs" to claim exemption from Aristotelian rules; furthermore, several music dramas that were well-known thoughout Italy both in print and on stage derive - more or less directly - from Spanish theatrical texts. A particular aspect of the whole question can be seen in the popularity in Italy of Lope de Vega's Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo, a discourse on poetic written between 1604 and 1608 for the Academia de Madrid which was published in Madrid in 1609 and only two years later also in Milan, Italy.From the 1620s in the spoken theater and from the 1640s in music drama (i.e. around the time that opera was becoming a "market" enterprise), the presence of the Arte nuevo (or of Lope's plays) becomes tangible in the writings of librettists and playwrights, starting with Jacopo Cicognini, who states in the Trionfo di David (1633) that Lope himself had written to him encouraging him to break the unity of time. Appeals to Lope's authority come from men of the theater like Nicola Villani (1834), Beltrame (1634), Tommaso Aversa (1638) and - at the end of the century - Andrea Perrucci who cites the Arte nuevo insistently in his Dell'arte rappresentativa premeditata e all'improvviso (1699). All these authors, like the Venetian librettists from the circle of the Incogniti, find in Lope a justification for their theatrical pratice: theater is made for the "taste", that is, the pleasure and amusement of a paying public; this public should be allowed to dictate its rules rather than the theorists of poetics.
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)221-245
VolumeAnno XIII, n. 2 (2006)
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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