Donizetti’s Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo in the Iberian Peninsula: in search of a transnational approach

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In Portugal, an old popular saying states that "From Spain, neither a good wind nor a good marriage". This proverb reflects an anti-castilianism that hasn’t always been shared by the whole Portuguese society. But the message it expressed, even if decontextualized, allows us to understand the distances that were forged, for centuries, between the two states that make up the peninsula. In the 19th-Century, however, when perceived from Italy and by opera producing agents, the political-administrative divisions within the Iberian peninsula appeared blurred. This suggests the outset of a transnational approach. Nevertheless, neither Portuguese nor Spanish Musicology seem so far to have been interested in this type of approach. The main exception is David Cranmer’s article, “Intercâmbio entre Portugal e Espanha no campo da ópera entre 1793 e 1828” (Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia, 1 (1991), pp. 205-210), where he discusses the relationship between the theatres of the two countries and the circulation of repertoires, singers and other theatre professionals.
Starting from an opera like Donizetti’s Il furioso all'Isola di San Domingo, which was premiered in Rome in 1833 and had a wide circulation in Italian theatres, this paper aims to explain the reasons and conditions that characterized its success in this geographical space. These are: 1) the fact that in some cities Rossini’s heritage enjoyed a larger acceptance than the Romantic models; 2) in Spain, the fact that the opera is based on an episode of Don Quijote; 3) in the Portuguese reception, the attempt to adapt it both to the demands of a prima donna and a more openly Romantic taste; 4) in both countries, the fascination with tropical environments, in a context of strong colonial connections with Central and South America. Finally, the opera's Iberian dissemination and reception reveals a set of regional circuits inside the Península which ultimately allows us to overcome political boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Event2nd Transnational Opera Studies Conference: [email protected] - Musikwissenschaftliches Institut
Duration: 5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


Conference2nd Transnational Opera Studies Conference


  • Donizetti
  • Portugal
  • Espanha
  • Il furioso
  • Transnational


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