Silent Singers. The Legacy of Opera and Female Stars in Early Italian Cinema

Mosconi, Elena (2013) Silent Singers. The Legacy of Opera and Female Stars in Early Italian Cinema. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3817. In: Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria ; Tralli, Lucia. Bologna: Dipartimento delle Arti - DAR, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, pp. 334-352. ISBN 9788898010103. In: Women and Screen Cultures, (1). A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria. ISSN 2283-6462.
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Although opera has undoubtedly been an important point of reference for the silent film industry, it didn’t left a conspicuous amount of traces that could allow us today to carry out wide- ranging research. This paper aims to fill this gap trying to reconstruct the relationship between opera and the silent cinema in a particular country, such as Italy, where the culture of melodrama in the early twentieth century was not only widespread among the cultural élite but also familiar to a large section of the population. My contribution explores different items: the technological perspective; the involvement of the main Italian composers into the emerging movie industry; the role played by music publishers and film companies in order to reinforce integration between these media; finally the key role of the singer-actress. This last item is really significant. Indeed the character of singer- actress reaches on a profound symbolic meaning, and at same time reveals both the potentials and limitations of silent movie. Finally, I will show how the paradoxical status of “silent singer” is a very fructuous item to depict the identity of both silent cinema and opera in the well-known home of “bel canto.”

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Mosconi, Elena
Deposit date
28 Sep 2013 15:07
Last modified
13 Mar 2015 14:47

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