In the history of Italian literature Giuseppe Rovani’s Cento anni is seen as an attempt – not wholly successful – to revive the historical novel in the tradition of Manzoni. However, the novel is also of extraordinary documentary value in terms of the importance assumed by music, especially opera, in the conception and development of the narrative text. This paper reconstructs the operatic imagery that suffuses Cento anni and the urban soundscape of Milan in the hundred years between 1750 and 1850 through the places in which music was produced and consumed, which Rovani considered essential elements of the city’s cultural identity. The paper also explores Rovani’s understanding of salons and academies as spaces of ‘sociability’ and mediation between the theatre and the city in terms of the notion of the ‘bourgeois public sphere’ introduced by Jürgen Habermas in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and of the broader concept of ‘theatricality’ proposed by Richard Sennet in The Fall of Public Man. Lastly, an analysis of the pages dealing with the tragic days of April 1814 which, following the fall of Napoleon, marked the end of the Kingdom of Italy allows us to reconstruct a different sound picture of the urban space, drawn by Rovani from the operatic theatre of the time and conveying the fears of a new 1789 in the presence of the uprising of the ‘crowd’ in the bourgeois city of Milan in the second half of the nineteenth century.

From the theatre to the crowd: the soundscape of milan in giuseppe rovani’s cento anni

Seminara. Graziella
In corso di stampa

Abstract

In the history of Italian literature Giuseppe Rovani’s Cento anni is seen as an attempt – not wholly successful – to revive the historical novel in the tradition of Manzoni. However, the novel is also of extraordinary documentary value in terms of the importance assumed by music, especially opera, in the conception and development of the narrative text. This paper reconstructs the operatic imagery that suffuses Cento anni and the urban soundscape of Milan in the hundred years between 1750 and 1850 through the places in which music was produced and consumed, which Rovani considered essential elements of the city’s cultural identity. The paper also explores Rovani’s understanding of salons and academies as spaces of ‘sociability’ and mediation between the theatre and the city in terms of the notion of the ‘bourgeois public sphere’ introduced by Jürgen Habermas in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and of the broader concept of ‘theatricality’ proposed by Richard Sennet in The Fall of Public Man. Lastly, an analysis of the pages dealing with the tragic days of April 1814 which, following the fall of Napoleon, marked the end of the Kingdom of Italy allows us to reconstruct a different sound picture of the urban space, drawn by Rovani from the operatic theatre of the time and conveying the fears of a new 1789 in the presence of the uprising of the ‘crowd’ in the bourgeois city of Milan in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Cultural identity Public sphere Operatic theatre
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/542099
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