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Carlo Goldoni and Europe's New Opera Theatre

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GoldOpera (Carlo Goldoni and Europe's New Opera Theatre)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2018-02-28

Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793), a pioneer of comic theatre, was also a prolific librettist. This interdisciplinary project aimed to shed new light on his texts for music and the operas- many still unpublished- drawn from them, to show how Goldoni fueled the radical evolution of Classical opera, spanning a long legacy in our European tradition. Unpublished opera scores were analysed, transcribed, and a multidisciplinary didactic project was created as outreach to bring them back to the public after centuries of silence. Partering musical, academic, and cultural institutions, the initiatives undertaken have proven an effective blueprint for divulging a broad range of subjects, with the ultimate goal of promoting our shared European heritage.
"In accordance with the original proposal, work was carried out in a variety of areas. The first type of activities to report are those related to the management of the project in all aspects, which has provided important training-through-practice opportunities; these have included learning and carrying out tasks pertaining to budget management and regulation of research costs, travel planning and documentation for conference and networking events, and longer-term career planning with the project supervisor, along with regular progress updates.
I have also undertaken essential training activities through workshops and informative sessions organised by the Ca’ Foscari Research Office on topics such as speaking to the media, project dissemination, future funding opportunities, etc., and largely through my own initiative via web with the IPR Helpdesk in Brussels regarding dissemination of research results for MC Fellows, open access publication requirements, and protection of intellectual property rights.
Most importantly, as regards the specific subject matter of my project, tasks completed and results include:
1) The acquisition of a large amount of primary source materials, not only from the source first identified in Part B of the proposal (Ajuda National Library of Portugal, Lisbon) but from other libraries throughout northern Europe and public domain repositories. The body of unpublished manuscripts I have accrued has not only been the core source of all of my research results, but is sufficiently vast that it will continue to support new research and discoveries beyond the conclusion of the Fellowship.
2) A selection of unpublished primary source materials was analysed and- most importantly- transcribed. The process of transcription provided ample opportunities for training in historical music notation, and most importantly was essential to bringing about the restoration- and public restitution- of the select works.
3) I have given a university class seminar about the research subject (title: Carlo Goldoni Librettista, 17 november 2016).
4) I have assisted post-docs in the drafting of MC applications, and have overseen, in collaboration with the project supervisor, the preparation of a final thesis.
5) I have taken part in outreach and project dissemination events, including but not limited to speaking at the Ca' Foscari Marie-Curie Info-Day 2017, public lectures at Casa Goldoni Museum for the 2017 European Researcher's Night, a radio Podcast (2018), outreach video (under production), as well as networking with the MC Venice Alumni Association. I have also been elected representative and spokesperson for the Marie Curie Venice group.
6) Research results were presented at two international conferences.
7) Publications: two articles have been published, one as conference proceedings and the other an independent study in Studi Goldoniani, an international, peer-reviewed class-A scientific journal. A new research monograph (""At the Origins of Classical Opera: Carlo Goldoni and the dramma giocoso per musica"") was also published internationally by Peter Lang Press. These accomplishments fulfil the publication deliverables outlined in Part B of the proposal.
8) A vast didactic outreach project was undertaken with the collaboration of the Venice Conservatory of Music, Ca' Foscari University, the Venice University of Architecture IUAV, the Accademia di Belle Arti of Naples, and the Fondazione Musei Civici Veneziani. This offered students two weeks of workshop addressing topics ranging from the development of 18th century opera to instrumental performance practice, culminating in three contextualised, interdisciplinary performances of opera selections, their first world premier in modern times.
Additionally, my work has laid the foundation for future plans, which include:
1) Two additional articles currently in draft form, to be submitted to scientific journals for evaluation.
2) An invitation to contribute a book chapter"
The publications produced so far as a result of this project are comparative studies that draw links between theatrical forms or techniques and analogous devices in opera theatre. These have stemmed largely from a comprehensive approach that has studied musical renditions alongside text, from a textual but also technical, instrumental, point of view- a process that is essential to informing our understanding of the evolution of this art form, and that few literary scholars have been able to undertake, given the formal musical training that is required. The research results put forth constitute new contributions to a nascent, interdisciplinary field of study, and through their comparative, comprehensive approach are taking steps beyond the current state of the art.
The societal impacts of this project on a general scale (i.e. not limited to the research community) have been broad and ideally will continue to develop, not only in a prospective ERC proposal thanks the foundation laid by the research findings, but through outreach projects as outlined above. The didactic performance project undertaken with conservatory and university students has provided a blueprint for the repetition of such initiatives elsewhere. Ideally, it should provide a model that could be replicated in other conservatories and schools, and adapted to audiences of different age groups and backgrounds. Furthermore, the future productions of these restored operas in professional opera houses remains a long-term goal towards which we continue to work, and in addition to reaching a vast body of audiences immediately, would open the door to numerous additional spin-offs, including the first professional recordings and the first print editions of these works. This would in turn foster their dissemination, study, and performance throughout the world, allowing them to regain a place in the traditional music repertoire.
Cover of the conference proceedings publication
Flyers for the outreach workshops
Invitation to the outreach events