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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Music versus drama: The enigma of Verdiís Violetta
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Padhraic O Cuinneagain
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2011
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (77pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: Although it is one of the most popular roles in the soprano repertoire, the heroine of Verdiís opera La Traviata, Violetta, challenges even the most accomplished of singers, as the role demands vocal versatility coupled with a dramatic truthfulness, much sought after by Verdi. Through a critical analysis of selected recordings of Violettaís arias, this study investigates the varying degrees of success achieved by the chosen performers in the quest to marry music and drama.
Chapter One examines the gensis of La Traviata with particular attention to the performances of Fanny Salvini-Donatelli and Maria Spexia; the earliest exponents of the role. There follows an exploration of the nineteenth century Ďsinging actressí and how the values of these avant-garde artists affected subsequent performances of the role. Finally, with reference to divergence in approaches to the role of Violetta, the contrasting portrayals of Marietta Piccolomini and Angiola Bosio will be discussed.
Chapter Two details operatic performances issues of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century to establish possible influences on Verdiís composition. A brief survey of the chosen arias follows, with special attention to the various ways in which Verdi endeavored to emphasise their respective dramatic qualities. Recordings by the following artists will be examined, with reference to the vocal and dramatic demands of the role of Violetta: Lusia Tetrazzini, Jane Morlet, Rosa Ponselle, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Ileana Cotrubas, Angela Gheorghio and Anna Netrebko.
In conclusion, and in consideration of all the evidence presented, the author evaluates whether the elements of dramatic truth in the role of Violetta is more important that the execution of the music.

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