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Opera and Video

Technology and Spectatorship

Edited By Héctor Pérez

The contributions in this volume reflect the efforts of musicology to understand a hybrid area with a fascinating evolution. They aim to address the relationship between opera and audiovisual technology from its origins to today by offering the results of a balanced critical and innovative approach. The reader interested in opera, aesthetics, narrative or transmediality will find concrete approaches devoted to an unexplored diversity of aspects with an impact on the narrative conditions in which we watch opera on screen. The variety of perspectives shows how original methodological approaches are able to design a new map of the main transmedial problems of opera in TV, DVD and even in phonography. The book offers not only isolated theoretical contributions but seeks a connection of them with significant practice oriented approaches coming from the fields of video direction and composition.


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EMANUELE SENICIOpera on Italian Television: The First Thirty Years, 1954-1984 45


Opera on Italian television: The First Thirty Years, 1954-1984 EMANUELE SENICI There has been a lot of opera on Italian television over the past half century. Yet, this substantial presence has not received much scholarly attention, including in Italy. What is more, the few publications on this phenomenon are all by historians and critics of television or mass media in general rather than musicologists.1 It seems high time to re- flect on this topic in some depth, then, and to do so from a musico- logical point of view. There are several good reasons for this, above and beyond the sheer number of opera-related programmes on Italian television. First, the relevance of both opera and television for Italian culture of the last half century is undisputed by the many who have studied either one or the other; it makes sense, therefore, to bring them together. What is more, from a theoretical point of view, discussing the relationship between opera and television opens up new and chal- lenging perspectives for the study of opera on video. Finally, observ- ing this phenomenon with musicological eyes may help not only to reveal unexplored ways in which image and music interact, but also to 1 See Giovanni Buttafava and Aldo Grasso, La camera lirica. Storia e tendenze della diffusione dell’opera lirica attraverso la televisione (Milan: Amici della Scala, 1986), 13–32; Giorgio Simonelli, ‘Evoluzione storica del teleteatro’, in Sipario! Storia e modelli del teatro televisivo in Italia, ed. Gianfranco Bettetini (Rome: RAI, 1989), 73...

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