Fathers and Daughters in Italian Operas Semiseria (to the Problem of Musical Sources of Verdi’s Interpretation)


This article is focused on the interpretation of father’s and daughter’s characters and their relationships in Italian opera semiseria of the first half of the 19th century. It is well-known that these theatrical characters became very important in dramatic composition of operas in the 19th century, as one can easily see in many Verdi’s operas where fathers and daughters have the most important dramatic function. Foreign scholars consider that the sentimental interpretation of father-daughter relationship in Verdi’s operas has no musical sources. Verdi’s interest in these characters, as they suppose, was dictated by general historical (attention to family’s theme, change of social function of family) or particular biographical (early death of Verdi’s children) reasons. This paper represents non-traditional point of view on this problem: musical sources of Verdi’s interpretation are drawn from operas by the preceding generation of composers. Representation of family relationships holds almost the main place in operas semiseria by F. Paër (Agnese), G. Rossini (La Gazza Ladra), V. Bellini (La Sonnambula), G. Donizetti (Emilia di LiverpoolLinda di Chamounix) and others. A special objective of this paper is to examine theatrical characters of father and daughter, typical plot motives and situations in which these characters are involved, typical moments in libretto texts, and a specific musical form of father-daughter duets. We found out that all these features were adapted by Verdi in his operas.