Borghesi insolenti contro un nobile decaduto. Una rilettura del Falstaff di Boito e Verdi in chiave sociale

Ottomano, Vincenzina (2016). Borghesi insolenti contro un nobile decaduto. Una rilettura del Falstaff di Boito e Verdi in chiave sociale. verdiperspektiven, 1(1), pp. 123-144. Königshausen & Neumann

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According to Robert Weimann “it is only when Elizabethan society, theatre,
and language are seen as interrelated that the structure of Shakespeare’s
dramatic art emerges as fully functional”. Starting from this position,
this essay focuses on the social dimension in Falstaff and, in particular,
its influence on the musical-dramaturgical form of the opera. While in
the libretto Boito underlines social distinctions between the characters
through his refined choice of words, Verdi’s music emphasizes the contrast
between the “impoverished nobleman (Falstaff) and the “insolent
bourgeoises” (Alice and Meg) at two particular points in the opera: first,
in the scene where Meg and Alice compare Falstaff’s Letters (Act I, second
part), and the second where Falstaff attempts to seduce Alice (Act II,
second part). Examined within the social and political context of Italy’s
post-Unification period, the work acquires a new level of meaning, which
sheds light on the contradictions between the struggles of an emerging
middle class and the persistence of an archaic aristocratic structure of

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

UniBE Contributor:

Ottomano, Vincenzina


700 Arts > 780 Music




Königshausen & Neumann




Vincenzina Ottomano

Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2017 09:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:04




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