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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/9423

Title: 'Beve, beve con me': An Operatic Brindisi-For and to Gian-Paolo Biasin
Authors: Hutcheon, Linda
Hutcheon, Michael
Keywords: Italian literature
role of drinking song
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: Center for Italian Studies. State University of New York at Stony Brook
Citation: Hutcheon, Linda; Hutcheon, Michael.""Beve, beve con me": an operatic brindisi." Forum Italicum 33.1 (1999): 73-93.
Abstract: When Richard Wagner wrote disparagingly of Gioacchino Rossini's "narcotic-drunken melody," he was questioning the composer's seriousness by reducing his music to intoxication, that is, to excess and virtuosity. But Herbert Lindenberger has pointed out that all opera is extravagant - larger than life, addictive, excessive (Opera in History 76, 271; Opera). In other words, moderation is not opera's reigning mode; on the contrary, excess is. One form of excess - the drinking of alcohol - has a prominant place in opera in general and Italian opera in particular (as our title from Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito's Otello is meant to suggest). Yet, from Hippocrates and the Bible to the present, we have all been advised that, in life, moderation - not excess - is the ideal.2 Because worries about disinhibition have always been strong, drinking became carefully regulated. Whenever a character drinks on stage, this act is a sign with multiple possible meanings. Yet, in Italian (as in other) cultures, drinking is a highly coded activity: there are certain socially acceptable codes of behavior governing drink, so that the questions of "who? what? where? when? and why?" are all relevant. When these codes are broken, the transgression is significant and meaningful.
Description: 'Beve, beve con me': An Operatic Brindisi-For and to Gian-Paolo Biasin
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/9423
ISSN: 0014-5858
Appears in Collections:Hutcheon, Linda

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