During the reign of Catherine the Great (1762–1796) the problem of the Turkish threat over Europe had become an excuse for negotiations aiming at stabilizing the geopolitical balance between the European countries. !is preoccupation was present in the diplomatic discourse, where a)er its ‘decline’, the Ottoman Empire was evaluated as a fake giant, incapable of representing a serious military menace. However, the presence of ‘!e Turk’ in the mind of Western audiences is attested by the di\usion of Oriental themes in dierent works of art. In the Weld of musical theatre, these can be found, among others, in such operatic performances as the opéra comique La rencontre imprévue, ou Les pèlerins de la Mecque by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1763), and Mozart’s Singspiel Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782). In Russia, the response to the Eastern Question was the ‘Greek project’ – a series of geopolitical plans that the Empress developed with her counsellors Aleksandr Bezborodko and Grigory Potyomkin, which foresaw the occupation of the Ottoman Empire, and its subsequent passing over to the rule of Catherine’s grandson Konstantin Pavlovich. According to those plans, in 1781 Catherine signed a secret alliance with the Austrian emperor Joseph II, which was to be conWrmed by the subsequent journey of her son Pavel Petrovich to the Habsburg Court. While creating secret coalitions at international level, Catherine undertook a propagandistic campaign putting an emphasis on her policy. Musical theatre was involved in such initiatives, according to the traditional role of opera as a vehicle for the so-called ‘scenario of power’ (Wortman). !e following paper addresses the impact of the ‘Greek project’ on the Russian culture by examining some cases taken from the opera theatre, in which early oriental inspirations emerge. References to the East are understood in terms of subject, provenance of the characters, collocation of the action and the consequent coleur locale evoked with set costumes and music. Four Russian titles will be considered in various ways: Fevej and Nacal’noe upravlenie Olega [!e Beginnings of the Reign of Oleg] on librettos by Catherine II, Tomyris, reine des Massagets [Tomyris, queen of the Massageteans] by Louis Dancourt, and Zel’mira i Smelon by Pavel Potyomkin. Apart from these, two Italian works will be addressed brie]y: the cantata Atene edi"cata by Domenico Cimarosa and the opera Alessandro e Timoteo by Giuseppe Sarti.
|Titolo:||Oriental Inspirations in Russian Opera at the Time of Catherine the Great|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||04.01 Contributo in atti di convegno|