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From Madrigal to OperaMonteverdi's Staging of the Self$
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Mauro Calcagno

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267688

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267688.001.0001

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Monteverdi, Narrator

Monteverdi, Narrator

(p.191) 6 Monteverdi, Narrator
From Madrigal to Opera

Mauro Calcagno

University of California Press

Chapter 6 shows how, on the one hand, the composer develops his voice as narrator to such a degree that in Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda Monteverdi transforms the epic poetry of Torquato Tasso into a multimedia, semistaged piece. On the other hand, Monteverdi overcomes Petrarchism by creating full-fledged and flesh-and-blood characters well beyond the classic Petrarchan “lover.” In this process he adapts for his own purposes the poetics not only of Tasso but also of Giambattista Marino, the quintessential Baroque poet. Monteverdi's creation of fictional worlds is the result of madrigalistic and operatic techniques subsumed under the term focalization, meaning “perspective” or “point of view.” Narrator and characters project a focalizing effect by acquiring a visual dimension through which they see, perceive, and experience the events of a story, making the audience aware of them. Instrumental music also becomes a factor in this process. As a result, madrigal and opera become, in the hands of Monteverdi, multivocal and multifocal, with the potential of being developed as multimedia artworks.

Keywords:   madrigal, Baroque music, Claudio Monteverdi, Giambattista Marino, Torquato Tasso, narrative studies, Italian studies, subjectivity, self

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