The Verdi - Boito Correspondence

Overview


These 301 letters between Giuseppe Verdi and his last, most gifted librettist, Arrigo Boito, document an extraordinary chapter in musical history. Now available for the first time in English, this correspondence records both a unique friendship and its creative legacy.

This new edition of the landmark Carteggio Verdi/Boito is at once a valuable resource for all students, teachers, and scholars of opera and a fascinating glimpse of the daily ...

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Overview


These 301 letters between Giuseppe Verdi and his last, most gifted librettist, Arrigo Boito, document an extraordinary chapter in musical history. Now available for the first time in English, this correspondence records both a unique friendship and its creative legacy.

This new edition of the landmark Carteggio Verdi/Boito is at once a valuable resource for all students, teachers, and scholars of opera and a fascinating glimpse of the daily life of European art and artists during the fertile last decades of the 19th century.

Embarking on a 20-year collaboration, Verdi and Boito produced a successful revision of Simon Boccanegra, and two new operas, Otello and Falstaff. They created what many consider to be Verdi's greatest operas, thanks both to Boito's poetry and to his handling of the composer. Here are the day-to-day tasks of creation: poet and composer debating problems of dramatic structure, words, phrases, and meters; altering dialogue as, at the same time, they converse about the wider worlds of art and music. The give and take of artistic creation is rendered fascinatingly.

This edition features a new introduction by Marcello Conati, improvements and updatings to the original edition, and an appendix of undated correspondence. William Weaver's translation is characteristically pitch-perfect; he also provides a short closing sketch of Boito's life after the death of his beloved maestro. Explanatory "linking texts" between the letters create a narrative.

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Editorial Reviews

Opera Quarterly

“The letters are engrossing. . . . With or without transition, Verdi and Boito can shift mercurially from discussions of high art to commentary on the mundane. Woven into the fabric of life in nineteenth-century Italy are, among others, threads of politics, medicine, and labor unrest. . . . Fascinating.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) had reason to dislike librettist-composer Arrigo Boito (1842-1918), who had scoffed at him in print. But when Verdi's librettist Francesco Maria Piave died in 1876 and a replacement was needed, Verdi's publisher lobbied hard to bring about a rapprochement between them. And as their correspondence shows, working together on Verdi's last two operas, Otello and Falstaff , as well as revising Simon Boccanegra , forged a bond between them that ended only with Verdi's death. Verdi, who virtually wrote his own librettos, allowed his librettists to function basically as versifiers, yet on reading Boito's final third of Otello , he pronounced it ``divinely good.'' When Boito's own opera Mefistofele was revived successfully, Verdi was delighted; responding to Boito's enthusiasm for the Falstaff project, Verdi sensitively urged him to complete his opera Nerone first (Boito never did). Opera lovers will be pleased that their correspondence, edited by Verdi scholars Conti and Medici and published in Italy in 1978, is now available in Weaver's ( Verdi, A Documentary Study ) smooth translation and with his commentary. This collection of 301 letters is an important supplement to Mary Jane Phillips-Matz's biography Verdi . (May)
Library Journal
Gifted Italian poet/composer Boito was the librettist for Verdi's last and perhaps greatest operas, Otello and Falstaff. He shared a deep artistic sympathy with Verdi in their finely matched duet, and his delicate tuning adjustments to Verdi's work are evident throughout this vivid translation of their 20-year correspondence. Weaver deftly condenses notes from the original edition (published in Italy as Carteggio Verdi/Boito in 1978) and creates helpful explanations connecting the letters. Even if many other books document Verdi's operas, few of his letters are available in English. This collection is important for its size (301 letters) and themes, not the least of which is the greatness possible (in art and friendship) when two talented men collaborate with mutual loving respect. For most serious music collections.-Bonnie Jo Dopp, formerly with Dist. of Columbia P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226853048
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 386
  • Sales rank: 1,243,887
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author


Marcello Conati is one of the world’s leading Verdi scholars.

Mario Medici was founder and first director of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma.

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Table of Contents


Preface by William Weaver
Introduction by Marcello Conati
Letters
Appendix
Index
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