Title page for ETD etd-05152006-113602

Type of Document Dissertation
Author La Rosa, Joseph Salvatore
Author's Email Address jlaros2@lsu.edu
URN etd-05152006-113602
Title Formal Convention in Verdi's Falstaff
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andreas Giger Committee Co-Chair
Michael Gurt Committee Co-Chair
David Smyth Committee Member
Willis Delony Committee Member
John Lowe Dean's Representative
  • dramaturgy
  • versification
  • scene structure
  • il barbiere di siviglia
  • semiramide
  • Gioachino Rossini
  • Giuseppe Verdi
  • solita forma
  • mid-century lyric form
  • central finales
Date of Defense 2006-05-05
Availability unrestricted
Falstaff (premiered in 1893) draws more explicitly on primo ottocento formal conventions for duets, arias, and central finales than scholars have previously argued. A description of those conventions (generally referred to as the solita forma) is followed by the analytical application of those conventions to selected passages from Falstaff.

A general description of the solita forma for duets and arias is followed by a pertinent example from Rossini’s Semiramide. Three passages from Falstaff are then shown to have strong grounding in the solita forma. These passages include Falstaff’s “Honor” monologue in act I, part 1; the scene for Mrs. Quickly, Alice, Meg and Nannetta at the beginning of act I, part 2; and the scene for Mrs. Quickly, Alice, Meg and Nannetta at the beginning of act II, part 2.

A general description of formal conventions for central finales is followed by a pertinent example from Rossini (the act I finale of Il barbiere di Siviglia). The Falstaff act II finale is then analyzed with reference to those conventions. The form of the Falstaff act II finale is also shown to bear a resemblance to forms encountered in the central finales of middle and late nineteenth-century French composers.

In addition to revealing a stylistic continuity between Falstaff and earlier operas, an awareness of the reliance of certain passages in Falstaff on formal conventions from earlier in the nineteenth century allows for a more precise understanding of the dramaturgy of Falstaff.

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