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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Stephen Sondheim, in collaboration first with director Hal Prince and librettist Hugh Wheeler and later with director–librettist James Lapine, adapted two films to the musical stage. The first is A Little Night Music (1973), a musical based on Ingmar Bergman’s comic Swedish film masterpiece Smiles of a Summer Night (1955); the second is Passion (1994), described by Sondheim as “the world’s only epistolary musical,” based on the Italian film Passione d’Amore (1981), adapted by director Ettore Scola from Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s epistolary novel Fosca (1869). In Night Music Sondheim offers a musical counterpart to the diversity of love explored in Smiles of a Summer Night, while in Passion, he musically captures the obsessive love of the ugly and sickly Fosca, and demonstrates that obsessive and altruistic love can triumph over a more conventional romantic love based on sexual attraction.

Keywords: Ingmar Bergman, Smiles of a Summer Night, Fosca, Iginio Ugo Tarchetti, James Lapine, A Little Night Music, Passion, Hal Prince, Ettore Scola, Passione d'Amore, Hugh Wheeler

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