Verdi, Ghislanzoni, and "Aida": The Uses of Convention

Critical Inquiry 1 (2):291-334 (1974)
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The existence of extensive written communications between Verdi and his librettists should have prompted scholars to prepare editions of the correspondence and to analyze its meaning and implications. Only rarely can we participate directly in the formative stages of an opera, and available material such as the correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal is invaluable.1 Obeisance, at least, has been done to Verdi's correspondence. Alessandro Luzio calls the letters of Verdi to Antonio Ghislanzoni, "versifier" of Aida , "the most marvelous course in musical aesthetics in action." Yet, for no opera do we have available a complete editions of the surviving letters between Verdi and a librettist. · 1. Willi Schuh, ed., Richard Strauss - Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Briedwechsel, 4th ed. . An English edition, made from an earlier German edition with many omissions, was published as A Working Friendship: The Correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, trans. Hans Hammelmann and Ewald Osers . Philip Gossett is the general editor of the critical edition of the works of Rossini and author of numerous articles on Renaissance music, Italian opera, Beethoven, and musical theory



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