“Opera under Foreign Domination: The Politics of drammi per musica in Austrian Italy during the European Wars of Succession (1701-1748)”
In my dissertation, I study the drammi per musica performed in Italian regions under direct Austrian rule during the European Wars of Succession (1701-1748), wars that redefined the map of the peninsula as hegemony shifted from Spain to Austria. This period of political instability and uncertainty offers an ideal terrain to investigate the cultural repercussions of foreign rule and the questions of identity that naturally arise within such a context. The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Naples and of the State of Milan did not passively watch the passage from one foreign power to the other: historical sources from the period reveal that pro-Austrian and pro-Spanish factions developed in both regions, and many conspired against their foreign rulers, often aspiring to a completely independent status. I argue that taking into account the cultural repercussions of Austrian control in Italy can modify the traditional view of the early eighteenth-century dramma per musica as an expression of the ruling ideology, bringing to light its potential for resistance and its complex and numerous political dimensions, as well as refine our understanding of regional differences within the development of the genre.
Supervisor: Steven Huebner