Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Falstaff (premiered in 1893) draws more explicitly on primo ottocento formal conventions for duets, arias, and central finales than scholars have previously argued. A description of those conventions (generally referred to as the solita forma) is followed by the analytical application of those conventions to selected passages from Falstaff. A general description of the solita forma for duets and arias is followed by a pertinent example from Rossini’s Semiramide. Three passages from Falstaff are then shown to have strong grounding in the solita forma. These passages include Falstaff’s “Honor” monologue in act I, part 1; the scene for Mrs. Quickly, Alice, Meg and Nannetta at the beginning of act I, part 2; and the scene for Mrs. Quickly, Alice, Meg and Nannetta at the beginning of act II, part 2. A general description of formal conventions for central finales is followed by a pertinent example from Rossini (the act I finale of Il barbiere di Siviglia). The Falstaff act II finale is then analyzed with reference to those conventions. The form of the Falstaff act II finale is also shown to bear a resemblance to forms encountered in the central finales of middle and late nineteenth-century French composers. In addition to revealing a stylistic continuity between Falstaff and earlier operas, an awareness of the reliance of certain passages in Falstaff on formal conventions from earlier in the nineteenth century allows for a more precise understanding of the dramaturgy of Falstaff.
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La Rosa, Joseph Salvatore, "Formal convention in Verdi's Falstaff" (2006). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1131.