Before and Besides Werktreue: (Re)inventing Operatic Staging at the 1930s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

Francesca Vella*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article examines the role played by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as a kind of cultural laboratory for experiments in operatic staging in 1930s Italy. Founded in 1933, Florence’s opera and arts festival was a key testing ground for ‘modern’ approaches both to set and costume design and to opera direction, two areas in which northern Europe (especially Germany) is normally held to have led the way, and through which the Maggio helped to reinvent Italian mise-en-scène as an act of independent, artistic creation. Setting the festival’s overall project in the context of 1930s aesthetic, philosophical, and cultural debates about theatre, opera, and cinema, and drawing on a rich archive of as-yet-unexplored primary source materials, the article retraces an intellectual and cultural history of Italian staging c.1930 that resonates productively with several present-day critical and scholarly concerns: from changing attitudes to the nineteenth-century operatic canon, to the early stirrings of Regietheater, to the intertwining histories of opera and film.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTwentieth-Century Music
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Jun 2024

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