Italian Opera in the Age of the American Revolution

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Mar 17, 2011 - Music - 376 pages
How did revolutionary America appear to European audiences through their opera glasses? The operas studied in this volume are populated by gun-toting and slave-holding Quakers, handsome Native Americans, female middle-class political leaders, rebellious British soldiers and generous businessmen. Most of them display an unprecedented configuration of social and gender roles, which led leading composers of the time, including Mozart, Haydn, Anfossi, Piccinni and Paisiello, to introduce far-reaching innovations in the musical and dramatic fabric of Italian opera. Polzonetti presents a fresh perspective on the European cultural reception of American social and political identity. Through detailed but accessible analysis of music examples, including previously unpublished musical sources, the book documents and explains important transformations of opera at the time of Mozart's masterpieces, and its long-term consequences up to Puccini. Shedding new light on familiar and less-familiar operatic works, the study represents groundbreaking research in music, cultural and political history.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 The changing world of the moon
2 Worlds up and upsidedown
3 Montezuma and the exotic Europeans
4 Cecchina goes to America
5 A Californian goes to Europe
6 Americans in the storm
7 The good Quaker and his slaves
8 Quakers with guns
Figaro s transatlantic crossings

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Pierpaolo Polzonetti is Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. His first book on Giuseppe Tartini was awarded the International Prize for Musical Studies by the Petrassi Institute of Latina. His article on Mozart's Cos fan tutte received the Einstein Award conferred by the American Musicological Society. Several of his scholarly articles on opera have appeared in Opera Quarterly, Eighteenth-Century Music, Study Verdani and the Cambridge Opera Journal. He is the co-editor, with Anthony R. DelDonna, of The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Opera.

Bibliographic information