From Madrigal to Opera: Monteverdi’s Staging of the Self by Mauro Calcagno F’02 now available from the University of California Press.
This pathbreaking study links two traditionally separate genres as their stars crossed to explore the emergence of multiple selves in early modern Italian culture and society. Mauro Calcagno focuses on the works of Claudio Monteverdi, a master of both genres, to investigate how they reflect changing ideas about performance and role-playing by singers. Calcagno traces the roots of dialogic subjectivity to Petrarch’s love poetry arguing that Petrarchism exerted a powerful influence not only on late Renaissance literature and art, but also on music. Covering more than a century of music and cultural history, the book demonstrates that the birth of opera relied on an important feature of the madrigalian tradition: the role of the composer as a narrative agent enabling performers to become characters and hold a specific point of view.