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date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 47 begins with a discussion of the question, “What Is Opera?” for the purpose of defining a platform for the historiography of opera. It then explores theories of genre, criticism, and biography that tend to obscure accepted definitions, leading to a deeper analysis of the relationship between a work and its creator. The central portion of the chapter concerns the fluidity of the operatic work, focusing on examples by Rossini, Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti, and several works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The central issue of the chapter is the need for historians to find ways to address opera’s “complete history,” including the interrelationships of composition, performance, and revisions when writing a historical narrative for opera.

Keywords: genre, historiography, Rossini, Verdi, Bellini

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