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8 - Strategies of Performance: Benefits, Professional Singers, and Italian Opera in the Early Eighteenth Century

from Part III - Benefits and Public Image

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2019

Matthew Gardner
Affiliation:
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany
Alison DeSimone
Affiliation:
University of Missouri, Kansas City
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Summary

This chapter considers how professional singers used benefit concerts to facilitate their exposure and to establish their reputations between 1703 and 1729 – years inclusive of the earliest Italian opera performances in England through the Royal Academy of Music. First, it will document the patterns and conventions apparent in benefits given by professional Italian and English singers, emphasizing the different kinds of concerts and opera benefits, the pros and cons of each, and the ways in which these events were tailored to fit the singers. For the bulk of the chapter, I will focus on three clear motivations behind concert benefits for singers of Italian opera. My survey of advertisements shows that singers used these special performances in order (1) to collaborate within a network of professional musicians; (2) to create and promote their individual celebrity; and (3)to construct and respond to particular narratives about contemporary musical taste.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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