Readying Cavalli's operas for the classroom: textbooks, editions, and the teaching of a non-canonic composer

Robert Holzer


My title pays homage to a recent volume of essays edited by Ellen Rosand and devoted to the scholarship and performance of Francesco Cavalli’s operas. Yet if love of wordplay inspired it, coincidence confirmed it. The volume appeared in print just months after my own foray into editing, albeit of a very different kind. I had been asked to prepare one of the volumes of The Oxford Anthology of Western Music, specifically the part that deals with Baroque music. As its title suggests, the anthology accompanies The Oxford History of Western Music: College Edition, the one-volume abridgement of Richard Taruskin’s five-volume behemoth prepared by Christopher H. Gibbs. I was charged with assembling scores of the works discussed therein and writing commentary on them, based on Taruskin’s own in the larger text. While I was left free to do as I pleased with the latter, such was not the case with the former. Thus music after 1700 occupies more pages than that before 1700, and the earlier repertory features some notable lacunae. That one of the biggest is Francesco Cavalli comes as no surprise, for in the course of the more than 3,800 pages of Taruskin’s original the composer receives exactly three sentences.

Parole chiave

Cavalli; opera; editions

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2039-9715/4603

Copyright (c) 2014 Robert Holzer

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