Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0163 (AF:467166 AR:256525)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
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The course is part of the core educational activities of the Master's Degree programme in Italian Philology, Linguistics and Literature, as a 6 ECTS course.
1. Knowledge and comprehension:
1.1 to learn the main characteristics of the genre libretto, of its origin and evolution, in relation with music, staging and the coeval literary context in Italy and Europe;
1.2 to understand the productive process of operatic performances and the editorial process of librettos;
1.3 to understand the main formal parts of librettos (recitatives, solo arias, concertati, choruses etc.), their dramaturgic function and metrical form;
1.4 to understand style, lexicon and grammatical structures of the language of the librettos.
2. Capability of applying knowledge and comprehension:
2.1 to orientate oneself in the history of libretto-writing and, more generally, of Italian opera, by contextualizing in time and space authors, composers and their works;
2.2 to be able to distinguish the different formal parts of the librettos, on the basis of their dramaturgical function and metrical form;
2.3 to be able to individuate stylistic features and figures of speech in the language of the librettos;
2.4 to be able to paraphrase the excerpts of librettos read and commented upon during the lessons;
2.5 to recognize the orthographic, phonetic, morphological, syntactic, lexical and textual peculiarities of the excerpts read and commented upon during the lessons, by describing their origin and diffusion in Literary Italian.
3. Judgement ability:
3.1 to be able to evaluate critically the adequateness of the models of formal (rhetorical, stylistic, grammatical) analysis applied to the excerpts read during the lessons and also to other texts.
4. Communicative abilities:
4.1 to be able to communicate the peculiarities of the stylistic and linguistic form of opera librettos, by making use of a convenient terminology.
5. Learning abilities:
5.1 to be able to study critically the reference texts, by hierarchizing information and making connections between different notions.
Students are expected to have a good knowledge of the Italian language and of the chief notions of stylistics, rhetorics, and metrics.
Title: "The libretto: forms, metrics, and style of a heteronomous genre".
At the beginning of the course, the peculiarities of opera as a musical and literary genre and the reasons of its amazing success in Italy and abroad will be presented. In addition, stylistic, metrical and dramaturgic conventions of the opera libretti will be discussed, by observing the rigidly formalized structure of these texts and its function in relation to music. Finally, the history of opera and of libretto-writing will be illustrated through the analysis of excerpts from Italian libretti of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
1. Vittorio Coletti, Da Monteverdi a Puccini. Introduzione all'opera italiana, nuova edizione rivista e ampliata, Torino, Einaudi, 2017.
2. Paolo Fabbri, Metrica e canto nell'opera italiana, Torino, EDT, 2007.
3. Libretti d'opera italiani dal Seicento al Novecento, a cura di Giovanna Gronda e Paolo Fabbri, Milano, Mondadori, 2014 (collana "I Meridiani", paperback edition; students attending the classes will read only the librettos read and commented upon during the lessons; students who cannot attend the classes will choose five librettos and read them entirely - Introductions of the editors and Notes in Appendix included -).
4. Essays and materials concerning the librettos read and analyzed during the lessons, which will be available in the e-learning platform
Students will have to pass an oral exam of 20-30 minutes. During the exam, students will demonstrate their knowledge of the subjects that have been illustrated in the lessons and that are described in the reference texts. In particular, students are expected to orientate themselves with the different evolutive phases of opera and to paraphrase and comment the excerpts of libretti read during the lessons (or autonomously selected and studied, as far as students not attending the classes are concerned), by pointing out their metrical and stylistic peculiarities.
Frontal lectures. All materials read and commented upon during the lessons will be available in the e-learning platform Although the course is not conceived as a seminar, feedback from students will be constantly solicited, according to an interactive and dynamic idea of teaching. Furthermore, the reading and analysis of texts will be regularly integrated with audiovisual materials.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 04/04/2023