Chapter

Instruments Old and New

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304885.003.0012
Instruments Old and New

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When Fabio Biondi and his period-instrument group, Europa galante, began their performance of Bellini's Norma at the Verdi Festival in Parma on March 7, 2001, disapproval from the loggione was expressed almost from the first note. It is not that Biondi and Europa galante were strangers to the opera house. They collaborated regularly with the Festival Alessandro Scarlatti in Palermo where their performance of Scarlatti's 1718 comedy, Il trionfo dell'onore, just a month after the Parma Norma, was awarded the most prestigious annual prize of Italy's music critics, the Premio Abbiati. The instruments for which Bellini composed the score of Norma were closer to eighteenth-century models than to those commonly used today. In many cases, Biondi's instruments were manufactured in the nineteenth century or were copied from such instruments. What was ultimately responsible for the displeasure of even the less polemically minded members of the audience was the gulf that separated the singers from the instrumentalists.

Keywords: Biondi; opera; instruments; Norma; Premio Abbiati; Bellini; instrumentalists

Chapter.  14461 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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