Massimo Zicari

Drammaturgia verista in Ruggero Leoncavallo

  • Abstract

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This article explores the concept of "verismo" in reference to the work of Ruggero Leoncavallo, and concentrates on two operas in particular: "I Pagliacci" (1892) and "Zazà" (1900). The analysis focuses on the literary premises and theoretical formulations elaborated by Emile Zola in "Le roman experimental" (1880) and "Le naturalisme au Théâtre", in order to verify the presence of some nexus of continuity between the concepts of French naturalism and Italian operatic aims at the end of the century. The resulting analysis attempts to dismantle some of the notions, often of a purely anecdotal origin, that revolved around the figure of the parthenopean composer, contributing to feed his fame and notoriety. The objective of this investigation is rather to relocate the composer and his dramaturgical choices within an historically coherent framing, aiming towards the clarification of some of the aspects that characterised, in the nineteenth century as since from its sixteenth-century origins, the function of the operatic theatrical machine and its production and performance processes.

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