The Verdi-Boito Correspondence by Giuseppe Verdi

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These 301 letters between Giuseppe Verdi and his last, most gifted librettist, Arrigo Boito, document an extraordinary chapter in musical history. Now available for the first time in English, this correspondence records both a unique friendship and its creative legacy.

This new edition of the landmark Carteggio Verdi/Boito is at once a valuable resource for all students, teachers, and scholars of opera and a fascinating glimpse of the daily life of European art and artists during the fertile last decades of the 19th century.

Embarking on a 20-year collaboration, Verdi and Boito produced a successful revision of Simon Boccanegra, and two new operas, Otello and Falstaff. They created what many consider to be Verdi's greatest operas, thanks both to Boito's poetry and to his handling of the composer. Here are the day-to-day tasks of creation: poet and composer debating problems of dramatic structure, words, phrases, and meters; altering dialogue as, at the same time, they converse about the wider worlds of art and music. The give and take of artistic creation is rendered fascinatingly.

This edition features a new introduction by Marcello Conati, improvements and updatings to the original edition, and an appendix of undated correspondence. William Weaver's translation is characteristically pitch-perfect; he also provides a short closing sketch of Boito's life after the death of his beloved maestro. Explanatory "linking texts" between the letters create a narrative.

About Giuseppe Verdi

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After leaving Princeton in his sophmore year to join the American Field Service, William Weaver drove an ambulance with the British army, first in Africa and then in Italy, initiating his long fascination with that country. After finally graduating from Princeton in 1946, he then returned to Italy, translating many of the most important modern Italians, from Pirandello to Morante, Gadda, Calvino, and Umberto Eco. His translations have received the National Book Award, the Galantiere Prize, the PEN translation prize twice, and the John Florio Prize 3 times. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and teaches at Bard College.
Published July 25, 1994 by University Of Chicago Press. 386 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Before the premiere of Falstaff, Boito writes, ``In the costumes of our characters we must avoid the too beautiful, because too beautiful is so rarely associated with the picturesque.'' Verdi, who knew that his wordsmith was a real man of letters rather than a hack, shows warmth and respect;

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Project MUSE

There are other important publications, such as Verdi intimo, Verdi's correspondence with the Florentine Count Opprandino Arrivabene, edited by Annibale Alberti (Verona, 1931), and many articles and books with groups of Verdi letters, but the overall picture was bleak indeed until the Istituto Na...

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