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6 - Noisy Echoes in Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza 1960, 1961

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 August 2018

Harriet Boyd-Bennett
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
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Summary

The final chapter considers in what sense the premiere of Nono’s Intolleranza 1960 at the 1961 festival can be seen as a retreat from the 1959 festival back to high modernism. Despite its impenetrable sound world, critics grappled with its complexities in the most prolific discourse of all the operas here considered: this, many on the Left claimed, was the work they had been waiting for throughout the previous decade. Prompted by the premiere, the critical press began a series of debates and redefinitions in response to what struck them most: how noisy the opera was. In a debate in L’Unità, the hubbub was interpreted as a new kind of realism, formed in order to use memories of the Fascist regime as an allegory of contemporary oppression. Although they agreed that Nono’s work was unlikely to be popular with a broad public, many immediately recognised that Intolleranza could serve to recall the horrors of Fascism and the sounds of war – to offer, in other words, a warning call that history must not repeat itself.
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Opera in Postwar Venice
Cultural Politics and the Avant-Garde
, pp. 179 - 205
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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