Carlo Goldoni as Musical Reformer; In Search of Realism in the Dramma Giocoso
Rista, Pervinca C.
MetadataShow full item record
Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni (1707-‐1793), who is best remembered in literary history for his realist reform of comic theatre, was also a prolific librettist. His texts for music written from 1748 onwards remain understudied but warrant significant reappraisal, for Goldoni was one of the first to give shape to the dramma giocoso, an innovative and realistic new genre of opera that went on to have a lasting legacy all the way to W. A. Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte. Through an interdisciplinary, historical approach and intertextual analysis, the present study reevaluates Goldoni’s drammi giocosi, largely overlooked by scholarship, to uncover the lasting innovations in form and content introduced by the Venetian playwright. Analysis of these texts also reveals clear affinity between Goldoni's contributions to the dramma giocoso and his reform of prose theatre. Most importantly, unlike other types of comic opera, the dramma giocoso has the particularity of combining buffo with serio, a dynamic that, through Goldoni's mature output, continually evolves to bring new realism and social relevance to opera theatre. Goldoni’s influence on this type of musical representation has not been fully considered, but the realism in music that he achieves through the dramma giocoso must be acknowledged as a lasting contribution to modern literature, and to operatic history.