<i>Ernani</i> Hats: Italian Opera as a Repertoire of Political Symbols during the Risorgimento

Carlotta Sorba

in The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195341867
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Ernani Hats: Italian Opera as a Repertoire of Political Symbols during the Risorgimento

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This article looks at the myth of Risorgimento, which was inscribed within a more complicated process of cultural nation building. It explores the Risorgimento as a nationalist movement, and considers the relationship between romantic opera and the events that marked the Risorgimento. It observes that the distinction between text and subtext, and stage and reality became more blurred as the revolutionary triennium approached. It also shows that examples of street politics were best reflected and represented in romantic operas, which became the most successful theatrical genre. The article also discusses the ritual and symbolic mechanisms that helped in the creation of a national “imagined community”, politicization, and the Ernani hat.

Keywords: Risorgimento; cultural nation building; nationalist movement; romantic opera; street politics; imagined community; Ernani hat

Article.  9900 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Musicology and Music History

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