This pathbreaking study of Italian stage works reconsiders a crucial period of music history: the late eighteenth century through the early nineteenth century. In her interdisciplinary examination of the statue animated by music, Ellen Lockhart deftly shows how Enlightenment ideas influenced Italian theater and music and vice versa. As Lockhart concludes, the animated statue became a fundamental figure within aesthetic theory and musical practice during the years spanning 1770–1830. Animation, Plasticity, and Music in Italy, 1770–1830 begins with an exploration of a repertoire of Italian ballets, melodramas, and operas from around 1800, then traces and connects a set of core ideas between science, philosophy, theories of language, itinerant performance traditions, the epistemology of sensing, and music criticism.
Ellen Lockhart is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Toronto. She has coedited, with James Davies, Sound Knowledge: Music and Science in London, 1789–1851, and her critical edition of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West is forthcoming.
“This very innovative study illuminates such central categories of musical thought and practice as voice, gesture, performance, and the work. It will be read with much interest and pleasure not only by musicologists, but also by historians of dance, science, aesthetics, and philosophy, and by anybody who cares about the connections between music and the human body.”—Emanuele Senici, author of Landscape and Gender in Italian Opera
“This is an intelligent and beautifully written book. Ellen Lockhart clears a path through a brambled Italian landscape, long neglected by history, to the toppled figure of the animated statue. Galatea is restored to her pedestal, and forgotten strands in the aesthetic and philosophic thought of the Italian Enlightenment are disentangled. The Galatean narrative of becoming-through-sensing turns out to be foundational to the very emergence of aesthetic theory across Europe, in ways that have striking implications for the history of both vocal and instrumental music. You’ll want to stop and stay awhile.”—James Q. Davies, author of Romantic Anatomies of Performance