Scandal and Scholarship

in Divas and Scholars

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780226304823
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304885 | DOI:
Scandal and Scholarship

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This chapter discusses the controversy surrounding Verdi's and Puccini's work. In July 1958, a young Australian musician, Denis Vaughan, discovered that the autograph manuscripts of certain works by Verdi and Puccini were significantly different from the printed editions in circulation during the 1950s. Convinced that his discoveries would prompt a reinterpretation of the art of these composers, Vaughan declared war on the Verdi interpretive tradition and also on Verdi's editors at Casa Ricordi. Vaughan produced letters of support from many musicians and conductors. However, other musicians and conductors—led by Gianandrea Gavazzeni—ridiculed Vaughan's examples. Gavazzeni's response in Verdi's defense inevitably damaged Vaughan's credibility. The logic of Vaughan's argument was equally problematic. Vaughan proved to be an inaccurate literalist in his reading of Verdi's autographs.

Keywords: Vaughan; Verdi; Puccini; manuscripts; composers; Ricordi; Gavazzeni; autographs

Chapter.  10724 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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