ABSTRACT

The acting of opera singers is a central topic in contemporary criticism. TheThe acting of opera singers is a central topic in contemporary criticism. Theinterest in acting can be traced back to periodicals of the first half of thenineteenth century, where opera performers were referred to as singersand/or actors. As Bellini’s and Donizetti’s melodramas becameincreasingly popular, followed by the success of Verdi’s early works, agreat many reviews devoted more and more attention to acting in opera,and interesting biographical articles on opera performers were written. Oneof these came out in ‘Teatri, Arti e Letteratura’ a periodical published inBologna since 1824 observed that acting by opera singers started to receiveattention as the works of important foreign literary authors began to bepublished in Italy. The translated version of texts by Byron, Shelley, Hugoand Schiller represented new sources for Italian opera librettos. A newform of musical drama emerged in which the singers’ dramaticinterpretation of their role was an essential element of the performance.

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