The Assoluta Voice in Opera, 1797–1847


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About the Book

It is unusual for styles in opera to carry over from one era into another—and even more unusual to linger two generations. Yet this is what happened during the first half of the nineteenth century, when the intricacies of the fleet bel canto style were combined with the Romantic era’s heroic declamation and formidable orchestral emphasis, resulting in the creation of the assoluta voice. This work traces that phenomenon and also covers the uniquely versatile divas who made their mark from the time of Cherubini to that of a young Verdi.

About the Author(s)

Geoffrey S. Riggs has served as a guest lecturer at Juilliard, the Richard Tauber Institute and the Wagner Society of New York. He has written numerous articles and reviews for Opera Journal, Listener Magazine, Wagner Notes, Review of Reviews, Stagebill and other publications. He lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Geoffrey S. Riggs
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: photos, chronology, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4077-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vi
Preface     1

1 Earliest Virtuosi     3
2 Women’s Voices     6
3 Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842): Médée     11
4 Gioacchino Rossini (1792–1868): Armida     37
5 Assoluta Manquée (I)     45
6 Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826): Oberon     50
7 Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848): Anna Bolena     64
8 Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835): Norma     90
9 Donizetti (1797–1848): Gemma di Vergy     137
10 Donizetti (1797–1848): Roberto Devereux     146
11 Time of Transition     168
12 Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901): Nabucco     173
13 Verdi (1813–1901): Macbeth     187
14 Assoluta Manquée (II)     222
15 Voices from the Past     226
16 Conclusion     231

Appendices     233
Chapter Notes     241
Bibliography     247
Index     249

Book Reviews & Awards

“extensive chapter notes…fascinating information…recommended”—Choice; “superb…this book belongs in the hands of every opera lover…indispensable detailed analysis…highly recommended”—The Opera Journal; “a fascinating book”—American Record Guide.