Cicognini’s Giasone: Between Music and Theater

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Abstract

Giacinto Andrea Cicognini’s Giasone, set to music by Francesco Cavalli (Venice, S. Cassiano, 1649), is probably the most popular opera of the entire 17th Century. Its author is considered one of the most prolific and successful dramatists and librettists of his age. The existence of two versions of Giasone however - the libretto set to music by Francesco Cavalli and a prose text intended to be staged (or read) as a play - has not yet been fully explored. The same is also true of another work by Cicognini, Gli amori di Alessandro e di Rossane. Both plays, like almost all Cicognini’s works, were published only after his death. Giasone was extraordinary popular, so we can easily suppose that the dramatic version was published for commercial reasons. In contrast, the libretto of Gl’amori was published only posthumously, in 1651, and the preface warns us that Cicognini had written only the first act and two scenes of the second act; and the prose version («opera tragicomica») was not issued until 1661 by Giacinto Pezzana in Venice and Eredi di Grisei e Piccini in Macerata. The prose Giasone, called «opera» on the title page, had five editions between 1664 and 1689, in Bologna, Venice and Parma. A year before the first of these editions (in 1663), the Roman printer and bookseller Bartolomeo Lupardi announced his intention to publish «Giasone, which has astonished Fame itself» in the form of a play. Lupardi was eventually responsible for a complete Cicognini edition in ten volumes, but no copy of his prose Giasone has survived. The existence of prose versions of these two works raises important questions: Who wrote them? What was the intended audience? Were they conceived to be read or to be acted? Moreover, a comparison between the prose and musical texts may help us to enter the world of a Seventeenth century dramatist, and to understand the different strategies involved in writing texts intended for musical setting and those conceived as spoken dramas.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteReadying Cavalli’s Operas for the Stage: Manuscript, Edition, Production
Pagine229-259
Numero di pagine31
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeAshgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera

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