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Echoes of Ariadne in the Musical Reception of Ariosto and Tasso

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2020

Eugenio Refini*
Affiliation:
New York University

Abstract

This article discusses Fulvio Testi's libretto “L'isola di Alcina” (1626), based on Ariosto's “Orlando furioso.” After considering its significance to the cultural politics of the Este and the author's preoccupations with poetical and political lineage, the essay focuses on the sorceress Alcina's lament in act 4 and its afterlife in the Baroque cantata repertoire. Echoes from Claudio Monteverdi and Ottavio Rinuccini's “Arianna” as well as the memory of the sorceress Armida from Torquato Tasso's “Gerusalemme liberata” are crucial to the gradual reshaping that, across poetry and music, transforms the evil character into a woman worthy of the audience's sympathy.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by the Renaissance Society of America

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Footnotes

I wish to thank Tim Carter, Kate Driscoll, Victoria Fanti, Roseen Giles, Giulia Giovani, Wendy Heller, and Margaret Murata for their generous feedback on earlier versions of this essay. I am also grateful to the anonymous RQ readers for their valuable suggestions. Special thanks go to Davide Daolmi, not only for the many conversations on this specific project, but also for patiently introducing me to the joys and sorrows of music editing.

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