John Rosselli

John Rosselli is a reader in history at the University of Sussex. His most recent book is The Opera Industry in Italy from Cimarosa to Verdi.

Verdi’s Views

John Rosselli, 29 October 1987

Few creative artists have moved forward on as broad a front as Verdi has in the past half-century. Just before the Second World War he remained, for the public at large, the composer of three or four indestructibly popular operas; for highbrows, the late-maturing author of Otello and Falstaff. There had been, since the late Twenties, a Verdi ‘renaissance’, limited in scope and audience. A clever music student still winced automatically at the sound of a tune from La Traviata. Even Dyneley Hussey’s 1940 volume in the ‘Master Musicians’ series, a work inspired by the (mainly German-led) ‘renaissance’, showed how many of the operas were out of currency. Some of them Hussey cannot have heard: if he had, he would scarcely have pronounced I Due Foscari ‘dead past revival’. Others like Don Carlos were still in eclipse as stage works, though admired by musicians.


Oriental Cities

21 July 1983

SIR: Jonathan Steinberg (LRB, 21 July) says he is paraphrasing Croce in calling Naples and Palermo oriental cities without a European quarter. It must be forty years or so since I heard this quip (then limited to Naples) ascribed to Disraeli. I should be surprised if Croce had originated it, deeply conscious as he was of his city’s place in the history of European thought. But can anyone point to...

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