Some Language Features in Italian Opera Librettos of XVII-XVIII Centuries
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 7, Issue 6, November 2019, Pages: 172-178
Received: Nov. 19, 2019;
Accepted: Dec. 6, 2019;
Published: Dec. 11, 2019
Views 404 Downloads 137
Luca Pavan, Institute of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Philology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Follow on us
The article examines the language used in some Italian opera librettos in XVII- XVIII centuries. The analysis was carried out with the support of two software tools: an automatic translator from Florentine vernacular language to modern Italian language, created by the author, and a software tool, available on internet, helping to find common phrases while comparing two texts. It is well known that from the outset of opera, the librettists mainly used the Florentine vernacular language, considered by poets and scholars as a model of beauty and balance. At the same time the language used in opera librettos follow some other basic rules described in more details in this article. The poetical structures and, sometimes, the choice of the language itself demonstrates that poetry used in librettos was also influenced by the music. Opera’s role in the society distinguished librettos from works of literature. Operas became very popular among several social classes and at the same time became an economical resource for many theaters in the Italian peninsula, while the literature had eventually less economic impact. This sometimes could have changed the language of librettos, adapting it to the needs of emergent social classes like the merchants, the economic status of whom significantly improved from XIV century. The author shows that, even if several features of librettos were changing along centuries, their language was almost always related with the language of literature. Even if writing a libretto sometimes was dictated by compromises with the market of operas and the requests of audience, nevertheless, librettos can be considered as a part of the Italian literature.
Automatic Translation, Florentine Vernacular Language, Italian Literature, Opera Librettos
To cite this article
Some Language Features in Italian Opera Librettos of XVII-XVIII Centuries, International Journal of Literature and Arts.
Vol. 7, No. 6,
2019, pp. 172-178.
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
G. Gronda, P. Fabbri. Libretti d’opera italiani dal Seicento al Novecento. Milano: Mondadori, 2014.
C. Dalhaus. Drammaturgia dell’opera italiana. Torino: EDT, 1988.
I. Bonomi, E. Buroni. Il magnifico parassita. Librettisti, libretti e lingua poetica nella storia dell’opera italiana. Milano: Franco Angeli, 2010.
L. Pavan. “An Automatic Translator from the Florentine Vernacular Language to Modern Italian Language”. International Journal of Literature and Arts. Vol. 7, No. 5, 2019, pp. 126-131. doi: 10.11648/j.ijla.20190705.16.
G. Staffieri. L’opera italiana. Dalle origini alle riforme del secolo dei Lumi (1590-1790). Roma: Carocci, 2014.
P. Fabbri. Metro e canto nell’opera italiana. Torino: EDT, 1988.
PMP - Il Petrarchismo. Un modello di poesia per l’Europa. vol. 1. Roma: Bulzoni, 2006.
I. Bonomi, E. Buroni. La lingua dell’opera lirica. Bologna: il Mulino, 2017.
F. Dorsi. Storia dell’opera italiana. Vol. 1. Il Seicento, il Settecento. Milano: Casa Musicale Eco, 2016.
C. Abbate, R. Parker. A History of Opera. The Last Four Hundred Years. London: Penguin Books, 2012.
P. Fabbri. Il secolo cantante. Per una storia del libretto d’opera in Italia nel Seicento. Roma: Bulzoni, 2003.
I. Czigány, “L’Orlando Furioso e le peculiarità dell’opera lirica veneziana del Seicento e del Settecento”. Verbum Analecta Neolatina. Vol. XIII/2, 2012, pp. 477-482, doi: 10.1556/Verb.13.2012.2.14.
VDC – Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca, Venezia: Giovanni Alberti, 1612.
G. Paduano (ed.). Aristotele. Poetica. Bari: Laterza, 1998.
W. Apel. Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, Massachussets: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1972.
VT - Treccani. Vocabolario. URL http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/letteratura/(Accessed:13/11/2019).