Paper Session
Nov 20, 2021 04:00 PM - 04:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211120T1600 20211120T1650 America/Chicago Setting Old Authors AMS 2021
Constructing Authenticity in Berlioz's _Roméo et Juliette_
Individual Paper 04:00 PM - 04:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/20 22:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/20 22:50:00 UTC

When a critic wrote that Berlioz's "Scène d'amour" from _Roméo et Juliette_ demonstrated that he "had not understood Shakespeare," the composer responded indignantly: "never has a more unexpected criticism wounded me more deeply!" In fact, we are accustomed to thinking of Berlioz as a fierce defender of Shakespeare, who demanded not just "understanding," but also what we would term "authenticity." Alongside his own Shakespeare-inspired works, Berlioz also offered withering criticism for those who failed to meet his high standards, seen especially in his slashing review of Bellini's _I Capuleti e I Montecchi_, which he describes as containing, "no Shakespeare, nothing, an opera manqué, mutilated, disfigured, _arranged_." Though scholars including Michael Collins and Gaëlle Loisel have argued the injustice of Berlioz's Bellini critique, nearly all scholars studying the symphony have at least implicitly accepted Berlioz's authenticity claim, rarely considering the significance of the fact that his own work contains at least as many departures from Shakespeare as Bellini's.

In this paper I offer a revisionist analysis of Berlioz's _Roméo et Juliette_arguing that he drew on more previous Shakespearean operas than he admitted and that his Shakespearean authenticity claims served a larger purpose in his ongoing aesthetic battles. Ultimately, appropriating Shakespeare allowed Berlioz to champion Romantic (Northern European) literary and musical aesthetics at the expense of dominant neoclassical (Italian) rivals. In analyzing Berlioz's divergences from Shakespeare, I extend our knowledge of his debts to Goethe's _Faust_, as well as proposing Daniel Steibelt's 1793 operatic setting of _Roméo et Juliette_ as an important and hitherto unstudied point of influence. In particular, the Queen Mab Scherzo, Juliette's "Convoi Funèbre," and the Finale all demonstrate important divergences from Shakespeare that can clearly be traced to Goethe and Steibelt. Studying these influences allows us to better understand Berlioz's work as deeply imbedded within operatic traditions; studying the gap between the rhetoric and reality of Berlioz's relationship to Shakespeare allows us to better understand how authenticity emerged as such a dominant paradigm for Shakespearean opera.

Paul Abdullah
Case Western Reserve University
From Songs to Poems and Back Again in Early China
Individual Paper 04:00 PM - 04:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/20 22:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/20 22:50:00 UTC

    Where is the boundary between poetry and song? What happens when theories of spoken poetry's "musicality" brush up against actual song lyrics? And what about traditions in which the poetry/music distinction is blurred or absent? In this paper, I investigate these questions by examining the development of ideas about music in early (ca.200 B.C.E.–650 C.E.) Chinese poetics. I begin with the framework most emphasized in modern literary histories: the Classic Book of Songs's "Great Preface", which posits the co-production of poetry and music. The "Great Preface" model is then contrasted with an alternative, "textual" approach, exemplified both by Han-era (202 B.C.E.–220 C.E.) commentaries on the Lyrics of Chu (by Liu An, Wang Yi, and Ban Gu), and by other early literary-critical texts (e.g. the "Discourse on Literature" by Cao Pi). While this "non-musical" perspective dominated subsequent criticism concerning non-Classic lyric, I will show how works in this vein nonetheless developed their own theory of poetry's "musicality," culminating in the strictures on poetic euphony given by Qi and Liang dynasty (6th century) theorists like Shen Yue and Liu Xie. These authors, I argue, exploit an overlap between phonological and musical terminology, thus continuing to take advantage of the prestige of music as a framework for thinking about poetry. Finally, I show how this same conceptual and terminological overlap was used to reconcile the "textual" and "musical" ideas of poetry through interpretation and commentary on the "Great Preface" itself, in the early-Tang (7th century) Corrected Meanings recension directed by Kong Yingda. My framework is largely comparative, drawing on recent thinking about poetry and song in the West, especially Gregory Nagy on poetry and song in Ancient Greece, Marissa Galvez on Medieval songbooks, and Brent Hayes Edwards on modernism and jazz literature.

Jacob Reed
University Of Chicago
Lost and Regained in Translation: Verdi’s _Macbeth_ (1865) in French
Individual Paper 04:00 PM - 04:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/20 22:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/20 22:50:00 UTC

In March 1864, the director of the Parisian Théâtre-Lyrique, Léon Carvalho, commissioned a French-language version of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth (1847), which he was planning to stage the following winter. Verdi had initially agreed to compose "three airs de ballet" ex novo and to replace Macbeth's death scene, but he subsequently realised that he also wished to alter the pieces he had found "weak or lacking in character," and that the revision would have therefore taken longer than expected. To mitigate the delay, the theatre's management suggested that Verdi completed his modifications in Italian, and offered to take on the responsibility of the translation and of the adaptation of the vocal lines to the French text. By accepting their solution, Verdi legitimised an authority other than his own for the finalisation of the 'text.' The revised Macbeth premiered on 21 April 1865, with a libretto "imitated from Shakespeare" by Charles Nuitter and Alexandre Beaume. Although that version of the opera was conceived to be performed in French, after its world premiere it has circulated only in Italian, until its recent revival at the Festival Verdi (Parma, 2020).

Drawing on research leading to the first critical edition of the French-language version of Macbeth, in this paper I look at the ways in which the libretto departed from its direct Italian source, exploring the aesthetics behind Nuitter and Beaume's choices. I argue that, whereas Verdi had repeatedly asked his librettists, Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffei, for "brevity," thus inevitably losing elements of his sources, Nuitter and Beaume's translation purposefully re-expanded the poetic text, mediating between the Italian model and Shakespeare's tragedy. Such re-expansion is aimed at reinstating content that the Parisian audience evidently knew and expected to find in the opera. In addition, it renegotiates the relationship between verbal text and pre-existing Italian music to meet the French conventions. In closing, I argue that the French-language version of Macbeth has profound implications for our understanding of foreign-language opera adaptation to the Parisian stage, as well as of the reception of Shakespeare in mid-century France.

Candida Mantica
Università Degli Studi Di Pavia (Italy)
Case Western Reserve University
Università degli studi di Pavia (Italy)
University of Chicago
 Megan Sarno
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Arlington
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