• Verdi, Auber and the Aida-type

    Author(s):
    Jack Blaszkiewicz (see profile)
    Date:
    2022
    Group(s):
    American Musicological Society
    Subject(s):
    Musicology, Operas, Nineteenth century, Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901, Auber, D. F. E. (Daniel François Esprit), 1782-1871
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Opera, Intertextuality, verdi, aida, italian opera, musicology
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/pern-gb86
    Abstract:
    This article presents a literary genealogy of the titular character in Verdi's Aida. While scholars have explored the opera's resonances with late nineteenth-century conceptions of Orientalism, Blackness and the imagined ‘East’, Aida's etymology and character traits reflect a much broader archetype that extends back a century from its 1871 premiere. Her name is not Egyptian or Ethiopian but Greek, and her backstory was modelled on characters named ‘Haidée’ and ‘Haydée’ who appeared in works by Lord Byron and Alexandre Dumas fils, as well as in a celebrated opéra comique by Daniel Auber. Aida was thus an assemblage of ready-made character archetypes and scenarios rather than an author's sui generis depiction of non-Western culture. An intertextual reading of Aida offers a broader perspective on alterity in the nineteenth century, which eschewed geographical specificity for archetypes, quotations and allusions. It also offers another way to confront claims of authenticity made by current-day defenders of brownface in Verdi's work.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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