Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Arrigo Boito sought to escape the limiting conventions of contemporary melodrama in order to revolutionize Italian opera. However, the most radical expression of that effort, his adaptation of Goethe’s Faust, Mefistofele (Mephistopheles), which premiered at La Scala in 1868, did not attain the desired result. In reworking the score, the composer took practical concerns into account, making the opera more pleasing to the mainstream audiences who demanded melodious vocal lines and a tighter dramatic pace. The revised version staged in Bologna in 1875 and the subsequent revivals marked an important turning point: what had been an avant-garde work now entered into the repertoire of all the major theaters. This chapter retraces Boito’s journey from the setback of the premiere to the success for which he strove so diligently, highlighting the creative process that forged a new relationship between poetry and music, which Giuseppe Verdi later exploited in his collaboration with the poet.

Keywords: Faust, Goethe, Arrigo Boito, opera, Mefistofele, Giuseppe Verdi

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.