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Milan 1790-1802: Music, society and politics in the city of many regimes

Palidda, Alessandra 2017. Milan 1790-1802: Music, society and politics in the city of many regimes. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the following one, the Napoleonic wars caused the whole of Northern Italy to live an unstable political era, the old absolutist regimes being replaced by republican states strongly subjected to France. In the case of Lombardy and its capital city Milan, for almost a century a part of the Habsburg Monarchy, this era was particularly intense and problematic: following the alternate outcome of the war, the government changed repeatedly from monarchy to republic over rather short time span. In a situation as such, rather unique in the history of the city, the various governments made a programmatic use of the arts and especially music for propaganda and control purposes. In Milan, a prominent venue for operatic performances already during the second half of the eighteenth century, musical theatre was identified as the primary vehicle for the dissemination of the rapidly changing political and social values and the monitoring of public opinion: La Scala opera house, at the very centre of Milan’s both musical and social life already in the Habsburg years, became the centre of diffusion of new cultural policies and social mechanisms. In addition to a carefully conceived and implemented plan of intervention within the theatre, new occasions were also found for the performance of appositely composed music outside the theatrical buildings in the city’s public spaces, i.e. the great republican feasts, rather complex events mixing music, visual arts, celebrative elements and popular entertainment. Cultural and more specifically musical phenomena taking place both inside and outside the theatre also played a major part in shaping Milan’s cultural environment and defining its role in the following Risorgimento years. Drawing on both dedicated literature and an extensive research based on archival and primary sources, the present thesis aims at reconstructing the unique historical context of these years and its consequences on the Milanese society and cultural production, also analysing the effect that the repeated government changes had on Milan’s musical environment not only in terms of repertoire, but also in the complex links established between politics, society and music. Traditionally overlooked, these years represent not only a complex transition between two very different historical and cultural contexts, but also a highly creative and vibrant period that had undeniable consequences on the following years.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Funders: Cardiff University School of Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 May 2018
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 09:54

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