cod. 1004256

Academic year 2016/17
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Musicologia e storia della musica (L-ART/07)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

At the end of the course students will know the essential historical lines of the Italian musical dramaturgy and its forms (knowledge and understanding); they will be able to identify the lyric numbers contained in an Italian libretto written between the Seventeenth to Nineteenth century and distinguish the sections in which they were conventionally divided (Applying knowledge and understanding). They will be able to express the content of the discipline with specific language and technical competence, at least with regard to poetic, narrative, linguistic and formal structures (communication skills). Even without requiring analytical skills and techniques in the field of music, however, it is necessary to acquire at least the main terms to describe the music that has been listened. The students will also be able to query the sources of opera, even not presented in class, in order to identify the specific traits and the most useful for forthcoming studies (learning skills).


Knowledge of the essentials of the history of Italian literature and the basis of Italian metrics and poetic.

Course unit content

The course will introduce the most debated issues in the studies about lyric opera and will outline the ways in which music, literary text, acting, theater production, etc. have been organized over time to create theatrical musical performances. Various examples of traditional operas from between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries will be presented.
In the first part (6 cfu) the course proposes the study of the strategies available to the theater music. We will examine the poetic structures of the libretto, musical forms that set it, the techniques that adapt pre-existing texts to musical theater, the forms of expression of dramatized human passion. The course introduces students to the historical profile of opera from XVII to XIX century; also it provides the keys and technical skills necessary to understand the poetics of the main composers and the role of music in the theater in different times and genres.
The second part of the course (6 cfu) will examine in detail some librettos and illustrative intonations of musical theatre from the mid-nineteenth century and the second half of the twentieth century. To address the twentieth century musical dramaturgy we will also turn our attention to compositions not strictly theatrical, but related to the narrative and representation in music (symphonies, tone poems, oratorios, etc.).

Full programme

Bibliography for the first six cfu of Musical Dramaturgy :

Gloria Staffieri, Un teatro tutto cantato. Introduzione all’opera italiana, Roma, Carocci, 2013.
Lorenzo Bianconi, Il teatro d’opera in Italia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993, pp. 47-96
Gilles De Van, Teatralità francese e senso scenico italiano nell’opera dell’Ottocento, in La realizzazione scenica dello spettacolo verdiano. Atti del congresso internazionale di studi (Parma, 28-30 settembre 1994), ed. by Pierluigi Petrobelli and Fabrizio Della Seta, Parma, Istituto di Studi Verdiani, 1996, pp. 167-186

Harold Powers, Il “Xerses” trasformato, in La Drammaturgia musicale, ed. by Lorenzo Bianconi, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1986, pp. 229-241
Paolo Gallarati, Il re Teodoro in Venezia tra melodramma e commedia, in Giovanni Paisiello e la cultura europea del suo tempo, ed. by Francesco Paolo Russo, Lucca, LIM, 2007, pp. 179-199.

Listen at least the first act of Georg Friedrich Handel, Serse and the second act of Giovanni Battista Casti – Giovanni Paisiello, Il re Teodoro in Venezia (you can use the guide in

Felice Romani – Gaetano Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore.

Paolo Russo, La furtiva lacrima di Talia, in L’Elisir d’amore, Bergamo, Fondazione Donizetti, 2009 (Quaderni della Fondazione Donizetti, 18), pp. 17-32
Alessandro di Profio, L’opera francese in Italia e l’opera italiana a Parigi: L’elisir d’amore o il crocevia di due tradizioni, in Elisir d’amore, Venezia, Teatro la Fenice, 2010 (, pp. 25-35 e il libret edit by Giorgio Pagannone

Luciano Alberti, Donizetti, Romani, Sanquirico insieme per «L’elisir d’amore», in Voglio amore, e amor violento. Studi di drammaturgia, ed. by Livio Aragona, Bergamo, Fondazione Donizetti, 2006, pp. 361-373.


The study program, too long for this Windows, is published on Elly-Lass Platform

Also, for only the first part of the course, students NOT attending the lessons can use the online course "Drammaturgia musicale " on Elly-Lass platform
placed between blended courses

Teaching methods

The course will be organized with lectures and classroom discussions of the operas showed in the class from which the teacher will take the momentum for analysis, comments and insights. During the lessons you will learn therefore the terminology for a brief analytical description of the listening experience. In the second part of the “semestre”, the institutional course will also be accompanied by a short LABORATORY about elementary musical notions, that will present the main concepts and procedures of the tonal music and musical forms. The first pare of the course will also be offered in a blended way on the distance learning platform called Elly.

Assessment methods and criteria

The test will consist of an oral interview at the end of the course according to the official calendar appointed by the Department. The interview will focus on the texts of bibliography, that wiil be indicated during the course and announced in the website, and at least two opéras which will be also indicated during the course.
The interview will test the understanding of the content of each text listed in the bibliography; will test on the libretto of operas the ability of the student to orient themselves in the dramatic structures of at least one act of the operas indicated: it will be therefore necessary that students listen to them several times while they read the libretto. The lack of knowledge of the operas indicated is cause for failure of the verification.
The ability to develop further knowledge and to ask the teacher pertinent questions, even during the test, will enable excellent results. Likewise, the ability of integrated readings and cross-connections between the texts listed in the bibliography will enable excellent results.

Other information

Audio and video media and computer on-line will be available.