Chapter

Sentimental Knowledge in <i>La finta giardiniera</i>

Jessica Waldoff

in Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195151978
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870387 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151978.003.0005
Sentimental Knowledge in La finta giardiniera

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More than any other of Mozart's operas, La finta giardiniera (The Pretend Garden Girl), draws on a culture and an archetype virtually unknown today: the culture is that of sensibility and the archetype that of the giardiniera to which the title refers — the sentimental heroine of Carlo Goldoni's and Niccolò Piccinni's wildly popular La buona figliuola. Both Piccinni's opera and Mozart's belong to a circle of works loosely based on Richardson's sentimental novel Pamela. Giardiniera has often been disparaged for its convoluted and somewhat static plot, but this chapter argues that it needs to be read as Dr. Johnson recommends we read Richardson: “for the sentiment”. Supposed inconsistencies and implausibilities, including mad scenes for the central protagonists, are considered here as opportunities to indulge in feeling, a staple of the sentimental genres.

Keywords: La finta giardiniera; La buona figlioula; Pamela; Niccolò Piccinni; Richardson; sensibility; sentimental heroine; mad scenes

Chapter.  15175 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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