"In this bold, highly original book, Mauro Calcagno ventures into areas where no other scholar has tread. He explores the Petrarchian view of the self over a century-long arc from the early madrigal to the beginnings of opera, with Monteverdi's masterpieces taking center stage. A brilliant tour de force, From Madrigal to Opera proffers a remarkable new way to look at music, performance, and reception that rings true not only for the early modern period but also for our own age. A must read for scholars, performers, and lovers of early music."—Jane A. Bernstein, author of Print Culture and Music in Sixteenth-Century Venice
"The mini-renaissance of early modern music studies continues apace, and Mauro Calcagno's From Madrigal to Opera is its latest, particularly impressive installment. Drawing on methodological impulses from a variety of sources—linguistics, phenomenology, narratology, and, above all, performance studies—Calcagno pays close attention to the interplay of the abstract text and live performance in both early opera and late madrigal. Common strategies, rooted in Petrarch's poetic practice, indeed united the two genres. This book will shape the discussion of early modern vocal music in the coming years."—Karol Berger is the author of Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow: An Essay on the Origins of Musical Modernity.
"In this pathbreaking study, Calcagno offers a new and dynamic interpretation of the relationship between Monteverdi's madrigals and operas based on perceptions of subjectivity expressed in Renaissance literature—the poetry of Petrarch in particular. Calcagno interprets Monteverdi's work as realizing a Petrarchan notion of the dialogical self, a concept that extends well beyond the early modern period to illuminate and enrich our own experience of virtually any vocal work in performance. This book should be required reading not only for those interested in music and text of the Early Modern period, but for anyone involved in performance studies."—Ellen Rosand, author of Monteverdi's Last Operas: A Venetian Trilogy.