The Italian reception of Benda’s «Ariadne auf Naxos» and «Medea»: fascination and compromise

Risultato della ricerca: Otherpeer review

Abstract

The monodramas “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Medea” by the Czech composer Jiří Antonín Benda had an interesting and little known circulation in Italy, where they were translated, performed and adapted to local taste. Both the works were performed in Naples, in 1783 and in 1790 respectively, thanks to Norbert Hadrava, an officer in the Austrian army with a great passion for German music. The article demonstrates that Hadrava presented the two pièces on the stage of Teatro de’ Fiorentini with the original music by Benda, obtaining a large success. A manuscript score of “Medea” now in the library of the Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella in Naples is examined, as it is likely connected to the Neapolitan performance. The reactions of the Italian observers are discussed as well: some authors appreciated the new interaction of word, music and gesture created by Benda and considered it as a valid alternative to the corruption of opera; other men of letters, though, strongly condemned the two works because of their lack of vraisemblance. The whole of literary, musical and theoretical sources shows that the Italian reception of Benda’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Medea was a kind of struggle between tradition and innovation: it was not only a matter of linguistic translation, but also of genre identification.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Pagine229-245
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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