Musical dramaturgy

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course develops students' aptitude to understand and interpret different kinds of music in different music genres and media contexts (theatre music, opera, cinema, etc.). It also aims to encourage them to develop what we could call a "dramaturgical listening" or, to say it in other words, a "dramaturgical awareness" of how music can contribute to define characters, generate action, establish atmosphere (etc.) in a broad range of dramatic genres and media.
The main learning scope of the course of musical dramaturgy/dramaturgy of sound is to enable students to relate their musical ear with the listening to music in an intermedial environment.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the dramatic functions of music in theatre, opera, cinema, etc., with reference to the monographic subject explored each new academic year.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Specific informations on the delivery modes of the training activities for the A. Y. 2021-22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public heaòth situation.
Course syllabus
Course Title (2021-22 A.Y.):
Tosca in an intermedial perspective.

The course focuses on a number of adaptations and remediations of Sardou's and Puccini's Tosca, whose story will be considered as a "myth" in the sense of Strauss's understanding of myth "as the sum of its variants." The course is structured in three parts of 20 hours each.
PART I. The first part is centered in the analysis and interpretation of three Regietheater productions: The Tosca directed by Robert Carsen at Antwerp's Vlaamse Opera in 1991 (the Decca DVD of a live performance taking place at Zurich Opera in 2009 is available); the Tosca production directed by Luca Ronconi at Milan's Teatro alla Scala in 2000 (the Euroarts DVD is also available); the third and last production that we will take in account is the Tosca the Tosca directed by Christophe Honoré at Aix-en-Provence in 2019 a video recording of which is available on YouTube.
PART II. The second part focuses on three film-operas of Puccini's La Traviata: The first one is the film version directed by Gianfranco De Bosio in 1976 (Deutsche Grammophon DVD available); the second Tosca is a live film (1992) directed by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi and filmed "in the settings and at the times of Tosca" (DVD available to buy on the Warner Classics label); the last is the Benoît Jacquot's acclaimed 2002 film of Puccini's opera.
PART III. The third part is based on three free adaptations of Tosca taken from different media: The Carmine Gallone's film Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma (1946) (DVD available), the Italian musical Tosca-Amore disperato by Lucio Dalla (2003) (a video recording of the 2004 performance at Verona's Arena is available on YouTube), and the Tosca remediated as a graphic novel by Sara Colaone in 2019.
Prerequisites for admission
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the course, students need a basic knowledge of the music, opera, theatre, and cinema history. So, it is advisable that students choose Musical Dramaturgy after having attended two or three of the afore mentioned courses.
Teaching methods
The corse is based on class lectures which are integrated by bibliographic and multimedia teaching materials uploaded to the Teams platform. The classes will alternate theoretical and historical overviewes with analysis and collective discussions of the treated case studies.
Teaching Resources
Before the beginning of the course, students will be asked to know both the Sardou's play and Puccini's opera (any recording will do, as long as it is a full recording).
- Puccini, Tosca, stage direction by Robert Carsen (premiered in Antwerp, 1991), filmed at the Zurich Opera House; DVD by Decca (conductor: Paolo Carignani).
- Puccini, Tosca, stage direction by Luca Ronconi (premiered and filmed at La Scala in Milan, 2000); DVD by Euroarts.
- Puccini, Tosca, stage direction by Christophe Honoré (Aix en Provence, 2019), under the baton of Daniele Rustioni:
- Emanuele Senici, Il video d'opera "dal vivo": testualizzazione e liveness nell'era digitale, in «Il Saggiatore musicale», vol. 16, fasc. 2, 2009, pp. 273-312 (available on Unimi Digital Library).
- Emanuele Senici, Storia mediale dell'opera e retorica della fedeltà, in Giuseppe Verdi: dalla musica alla messinscena, a cura di Franco Piperno et alii, Parma, Istituto nazionale di studi verdiani, 2015, pp. 114-119.
- Clemens Risi, Opera in Performance: "Regietheater" and Performative Turn, in «The Opera Quarterly», vol. 35, fasc. 1-2, 2019, pp. 7-19 (available on Unimi Digital Library).
- Tosca, TV film, directed by Gianfranco De Boiso, conducted by Bruno Bartoletti; DVD by Deutsche Grammophon (1976).
- Tosca in the locations and at the times of" Puccini's opera, a live film by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, conducted by Zubin Metha; DVD by Warner Classics (1992).
- Tosca, an opera film by Benoît Jacquot (2001), conducted by Antonio Pappano; DVD by Axiofilms (2001).
- Marcia Citron, Visual Media, in The Oxford Handbook of Opera, edited by Helen M. Greenwald, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 921-940.
- Carmine Gallone, Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma, film (1946); DVD by RHV.
- Catherine O'Rawe, Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma: Opera, Melodrama and the Resistance, in «Modern Italy», vol. 17, n.2, 2012, pp. 185-196 (available on Unimi Digital Library).
- Lucio Dalla, Tosca - Amore disperato, musical/opera popolare (2003). Filmed at the Verona Arena:… (first act).… (second act).
On the concept of "opera popolare", see the contributions included in:
- «Prove di drammaturgia», anno 11, n. 1 (luglio 2005):…
- Sara Colaone, Tosca, graphic novel (Milano: Solferino, 2019).
For a theoretical framework of opera phenomenon, students will have to read:
- Mladen Dolar e Slavoj Žižek, La seconda morte dell'opera, a cura di Carlo Lanfossi, Milano, Ricordi-LIM, 2019.
For an in-depth investigation on the concept of adaptation, students will have to read:
- Linda Hutcheon, Teoria degli adattamenti. I percorsi delle storie fra letteratura, cinema, nuovi media, Roma, Armando, 2011, pp. 19-59 (The chpater's title is: Per una teoria degli adattamenti: Che cosa? Chi? Perché? Dove? Quando?).
For a better understanding of the mise-en-scène of the Sardou's play as well as its musical implications, students will have to read this paper:
- Davide Ciprandi, Le musiche di scena di Louis Pister per "La Tosca" di Sardou, (text not yet published, but shared with the course group).
For a historical and political interpretation of Puccini's Tosca, students will have to read this article:
- Gerardo Tocchini, "Opera without Politics"? Per una interpretazione storica (e politico-contestuale) della Tosca di Giacomo Puccini, in «Studi Pucciniani», vol. 6, a cura di Michele Girardi, Firenze, Olschki, 2020, pp. 43-72.
The attendance is highly recommended. Not attending students have to study also:
- Marta Citron, A Stroll to History, in Opera on Screen, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2000, pp. 20-68 + 251-257 (end-notes).
- Michele Girardi, Roma tra fede e potere, in Giacomo Puccini. L'arte internazionale di un musicista italiano, Venezia, Marsilio, 1995, pp. 149-196.
- Alexandra Wilson, Tosca: Truth and Lies, in The Puccini Problem. Opera, Nationalism, and Modernity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 69-96.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The assessment procedure consists of an oral exam on the topics developed during the course, by mark expressed on (the threshold to pass the exam) to the maximum of 30 (cum laude).
Unita' didattica A
L-ART/07 - MUSICOLOGY AND HISTORY OF MUSIC - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-ART/07 - MUSICOLOGY AND HISTORY OF MUSIC - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-ART/07 - MUSICOLOGY AND HISTORY OF MUSIC - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)