The Metamorphoses of Dafne (and Apollo): the Birth of Opera at the Crossroads of Genres

· Alessandra Origgi ·


PID: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11108/0000-0007-C2D6-C

The relationship between poetics and literary practice within Italian literature in the seventeenth-century represents one of the most central – and controversial – research topics in early modern drama.1 Understanding the relationship becomes even more problematic when examining the period at the end of the Cinquecento – the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque – when the epistemological discourse and rules of poetics change. It is in this complex period that the birth of the musical drama as a new genre occurs, which can be effectively studied through Ottavio Rinuccini and Jaco­po Peri’s Dafne (1600).

This article has two main objectives: First, to demonstrate the existence of a link between genre theory at the end of the sixteenth century and Rinuccini and Peri’s Dafne, which leads to a new understanding of the opera. Starting with Giovan Battista Guarini’s theory of tragicomedy, and then focussing on the literary genres Rinuccini makes use of in his Dafne, I will demonstrate how the mixing of genres becomes a cen­tral theme for the Florentine dramatist. Second, to explore how the poetics of pleasure in Dafne appears to be contaminated by the poetics of docere, a type of poetics which conforms to the court within which this early operatic production has its origins.

In relation to the first objective, the relationship between genre theory and Dafne, it should be noted that musical dramas were written without any specific theory legitimi­zing the idea that a ‹non-regular› dramatic text be set to music. The theories of Giro­lamo Mei and the Camerata dei Bardi on the creation of the first musical dramas,2 first used by Giulio Caccini in his score of Euridice, concerned the possibility of setting a tragedy to music (tragedy being a regular genre).3 The first theories on musical drama appeared only later: the Corago4, which was not published and whose subject was «lo spettacolo teatrale nella sua globalità»5, and Giovan Battista Doni’s Trattato della musica scenica, which also remained unpublished until 1763.6 In early musical dra­mas traces of pastoral drama, mythological poetry, tragedy, and (naturally) lyric poetry can be detected. This peculiar combination, undoubtedly a significant innovation of the new genre,7 may have a theoretical explanation in Guarini’s apologetic treatises,8 which were developed to justify the new genre of tragicomedy. Despite tragicomedy’s classi­cal background9 (the theory of which is outlined, for example, in Giraldi Cinzio’s Lette­ra ovvero discorso sopra il comporre le satire atte alle scene10), it appears to be the case that only Guarini’s theory (as well as his poetical work) could have exercised significant influence on the literary production of the late Cinquecento and the early Seicento. In his Verrati (1588 and 1593) and then more extensively in his Compen­dio (1601) (an important piece of poetics written within the controversy surrounding his Pastor Fido) Guarini defends his pastoral tragicomedy by supporting historical relativity:

Ma e’ non vale la conseguenza, Aristotele non ne parlò [della tragicommedia] dunque non è poema, perciocché a voler provar cotesto bisognerebbe ch’egli l’avesse escluso, e non tralasciato: tanto più non avendo noi quell’opera intera. Sapete voi perché? Perché a suoi tempi non era in uso.11

Guarini introduces a kind of querelle des anciens et des modernes when he writes that

[s]e dunque il Poema Tragico ha potuto da principio sì debole, anzi sì ignobile, innalzarsi a tanta grandezza, perché volete voi negare il medesimo all’Egloga, che pur dianzi vi s’è mostrato co ’l testi­monio di Teocrito, e di Virgilio, che qualche volta s’innalza, e favella di cose grandi? Che tenacità è cotesta vostra di negare a’ moderni que’ privilegi poetici, che sono stati conceduti agli antichi?12

At this point, the audience’s judgment also becomes of foremost importance for Gua­rini: «E veramente se le pubbliche rappresentazioni son fatte per gli ascoltanti, bisogna bene, che secondo la varietà dei costumi, e dei tempi si vadano eziando mutando i poemi.»13

Using these new criteria Guarini feels authorized to break some dramatic rules in force in the sixteenth century and to combine noble characters, typical of tragedy, with a comic plot, and to use a style that mixes Petrarchism and eclogue together. Indeed, Guarini claims that

chi compone tragicommedia […] dall’una prende le persone grandi e non l’azione; la favola verisi­mile, ma non vera; gli affetti mossi, ma rintuzzati; il diletto, non la mestizia; il pericolo, non la morte; dall’altra il riso non dissoluto, le piacevolezze modeste, il nodo finto, il rivolgimento felice, e sopratutto l’ordine comico.14

On a stylistic level this mixture is put into practice through the «temperamento» be­tween the «forma magnifica» and the «forma dolce»:

La sua propria, e principale [forma] è la magnifica, la quale, accompagnata con la grave, diventa «idea» della tragedia; ma, mescolata con la polita, fa quel temperamento, che conviene alla poesia tragicomica. Perciocchè, trattandosi in essa di persone grandi e d’eroi, non conviene favellare umilmente; e, perciocché nella medesima non si vuole il terribile e l’atroce, anzi si fugge, lasciando da parte il grave, prendesi il dolce, che tempera quella grandezza e quella sublimità, ch’è propria del puro tragico.15

The mixture of tragic and comic structural elements aims at arousing measured and balanced feelings in the public: as opposed to the excess of laughter inspired by come­dy, and the fear triggered by tragedy.16 The main purpose of tragicomedy, for Guarini, is thus to cure the audience from melancholy by provoking positive emotions.17 In fact, it is especially by religion that the soul will be purged from fear and terror — which according to the Aristotelian poetics was the goal of tragedy.18 It is useful to point out that the importance Guarini attributes to religion can be seen as an element that underpins Robert Henke’s view of Guarini’s tragicomedy as «a genre appropriated for post-Tridentine Italy».19

These new ideas introduced by Guarini, who claims to respect Aristotle’s princi­ples,20 occasioned a long debate, with some of the most substantial opposing arguments coming from Giason Denores, expressed in his Discorso […] intorno a que’ principi, cause, et accrescimenti, che la comedia, la tragedia et il poema heroico ricevono dalla philosophia morale et civile, et da’ governatori delle republiche (1587).21 To this, Gua­rini responded with his Verrato (1588), to which Denores countered again in his Apolo­gia contra l’auttor del Verato (1590). Denores supported an Aristotelian genre theory, which involved a clear separation of genres, and argued for the political and moral value of literature. Guarini replied again with his Verrato secondo (1593), elaborating on his theories in the Compendio. His Annotazioni to the Pastor Fido, his last theore­tical work, should also not be forgotten in this context (1602).22 Guarini was well known in Florence at the end of the sixteenth century, and his Compendio had already been circulated in 1599 among the members of the Accademia della Crusca.23

Guarini’s position, which prepared for and anticipated the mixing of genres in Baroque poetics,24 was not alone in its time: Angelo Ingegneri25 also wrote in his Della poesia rappresentativa (1598) about the mixture of tragedy and comedy. According to Inge­gneri, this mixture can only be realized in pastoral poetry, whose purpose is to sti­mulate noble feelings in the audience:

Restano adunque le pastorali, le quali, con apparato rustico e di verdura e con abiti più leggiadri che sontuosi, riescono alla vista vaghissime; che co ’l verso soave e colla sentenza dilicata sono gratis­sime agli orecchi e all’intelletto; che, non incapaci di qualche gravità quasi tragica […], patiscono ac­concissimamente certi ridicoli comici; che, admettendo le vergini in palco e le donne oneste, quello che alle comedie non lice, danno luoco a nobili affetti, non disdicevoli alle tragedie istesse; e che in­somma, come mezzane fra l’una e l’altra sorte di poema dilettano a maraviglia altrui, sieno con i cori, sieno senza, abbiano o non abbiano intermedi […].26

Ingegneri represents the point of view of a ‹true› practitioner of theater: concerned first and foremost with the performance rather than with the theoretical dimension of a script. In fact, for Ingegneri the possibility of actually putting a dramatic text on stage is the most important requirement for its success. For this reason he claims that tragedy cannot be successful: its performance would be too expensive and lavish, not to mention too long to please the theater-goers.27 To summarize, towards the end of the sixteenth century literary critics, particularly Guarini and Ingegneri, developed theories that pay attention to the taste of the theater-going public – which encouraged the emergence of new genres, such as the musical drama.

In his Dafne, Rinuccini seems to adopt in part Guarini’s theory of genres, which widens the Aristotelian system by combining different genres,28 and in part Denores’ idea of the didactic value of literature, as we shall see later.29

From Peri’s preface to Euridice (1600) it can be established that Dafne was writ­ten in 1594.30 It is not certain however whether this year corresponds to the inception of Peri’s initial idea of the musical drama and the composition of some of its arias, or whether Dafne was staged for the first time in 1594. It is most likely that the first hypo­thesis is correct: as a matter of fact, Peri wanted to affirm his primacy with the inven­tion of this new kind of entertainment in order to defeat his rival Emilio Cavalieri, who claimed to have written the first play completely set to music in 1595 (Il Giuoco della Cieca).31 The music for Dafne was written mainly by Peri (some arias were composed by Jacopo Corsi), whereas the subsequent version of the musical drama would be set to music by Giulio Caccini. According to Marco da Gagliano, the first production of Dafne took place during the carnival of 1598 in the Palazzo Corsi,32 and the second mise-en-scène was performed in the Palazzo Pitti in 1599.33 Dafne’s third staging took place in 1600 in the Palazzo Corsi in the presence of the grand duchess Christine de Lorraine, and the fourth in 1604 in the Palazzo Pitti for the duke of Parma.34 This musical drama was thus staged both on private and public occasions. Of particular note is that the audience of these performances was both academic and courtly, evidenced by the na­ture and personality of Jacopo Corsi. At the same time in relation to his private life, Corsi, through his patronage, appealed to the public dimension in order to advance the cause of his family in the eyes of the Medici.35 The boundaries between public and pri­vate, as well as between courtly and academic settings are not easy to draw. In any case, it would be safe to say that Dafne’s first performance was not courtly, but instead reserved for a selected public of music enthusiasts and learned members of academies. This was important in order to legitimize a meta-poetic reading of Dafne, which is generally of utmost interest to an academic audience.

In terms of structure, Dafne contains a prologue, declaimed by Ovid, and one act, which represents a rewriting of the episode of Apollo and Daphne as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Considering some differences between the source text and its opera­tic adaptation, the following short summary of Dafne may be helpful. After the victory of Apollo over the monstrous snake Python, the god of music and Cupid have a hea­ted argument about the supremacy of the power of war over the power of love. Apollo makes fun of Cupid, who takes revenge by making Apollo fall in love. A chorus, which narrates the episode of Narcissus, separates this first part from the subsequent epi­sode. Apollo then meets Daphne and falls in love with her. Next, Cupid enjoys his suc­cess with his mother, Venus, and the chorus glorifies the power of love. Finally a messenger announces the pursuit of Daphne and her metamorphosis into a laurel tree, which Apollo then praises. The last chorus exhorts obeying the god of love.

The critical debate surrounding Dafne is already relatively rich, but what I intend to provide with my reading is an interpretation of the opera that takes into account the tradition of previous genres, and seeks to demonstrate how the references to pastoral and mythological genres play a significant role in the poetics of the first musical drama. More precisely, the interpretation refers on the one hand to Guarini’s extending genre theory, and to the didactic value of literature on the other.

Existing critical contributions underline Apollo’s final praise of the laurel, which is to be dedicated to Apollo himself forever. This key episode is a symbol of the power of art, which cannot possess beauty but can immortalize it.36 This meta-poetic meaning appears to be applicable to the first (or one of the first) works of a new genre, which might need theoretical justification. Apollo’s praise certainly has a meta-poetic function: indeed Petrarca in the Canzoniere adopted the same myth and in particular the laurel as a symbol of poetic fame («gloria poetica»). However another interpre­tation could be given to this episode, also meta-poetic but which tries to make sense of those elements of the play that have so far been considered to be disparate and illo­gical37 but which, in my opinion, reflect Rinuccini’s interest in the issue of genres. With my meta-poetic reading of Dafne I would like to show that the mixing of genres is an essential part of this new genre, and as such it is also reflected in the drama.

Dafne, as it has been already pointed out above, follows the plot of Ovid’s Metamor­phoses, but adds a pastoral setting to it. The characters added to the Ovidian plot are shepherds and nymphs who act in the choruses. The bucolic element is not merely de­corative but is also largely significant in the choice of themes, as well as for the over­all interpretation of the play. The centrality of love, which is discussed in the choruses, represents a bucolic as well as lyric element: the main focus of the play lies in the re­ciprocity of love, a law that is violated by Daphne, who rejects Apollo. The closeness of Dafne and pastoral drama is also confirmed by intertextual references by the opera to Guarini’s Pastor Fido. Guarini thus appears to be both a theoretical, as it has already been shown, and a textual model, as his Pastor Fido (along with Tasso’s Aminta, of course) is the most representative example of the genre at the end of the century.38

At the outset of the Dafne, shepherds and nymphs are complaining about their diffi­cult situation caused by the monstrous snake Python, when suddenly Echo steps in and takes part in the dialogue embodying Apollo:

CORO
Ebra di sangue in questo oscuro bosco
giacea pur dianzi la terribil fera. — Era.
Dunque più non attosca
nostre belle campagne, altrove è gita? — Ita.
Farà ritorno più per questi poggi? — Oggi.
Oimè! chi n’assecura
s’oggi tornar pur deve il mostro rio? — Io.
Chi sei tu, che ne affidi e ne console? — Sole.
Il Sol tu sei? Tu sei di Delo il dio? — Io.
Hai l’arco teco per ferirlo, Apollo? — Hollo.
S’hai l’arco tuo, saetta infin che mora
questo mostro crudel che ne divora. — Ora.39

If we compare this episode with the Pastor Fido, we see that here too Echo embodies a god (the god of love), who announces his revenge, after Silvio’s statements against the power of love.40 The dialogue refers to and plays with the idea of love’s omnipotence (Amor defines himself as god of the world), and with the ambiguity of the bow, which can be a tool for hunting as well as the instrument of Amor’s revenge. Later in the play, Silvio injures Dorinda, who is disguised as a wolf, and then Silvio, who is in love with her, breaks his own weapons, as predicted by Cupid. Such themes, along with intertex­tual references to Guarini’s episode of Silvio and Amor, also come up in Dafne, for example where Cupid is in opposition to Apollo and where Apollo is defeated by Cupid, whose bow is stronger than Apollo’s (vv. 100–127), as we will see later.41 In this way the two Echo episodes are tied together thematically, because they both imply figures (Silvio and Apollo) whose roles will be reversed because of the power of love – they change their status, become victims of love and undergo an inner metamorphosis. The function of this Echo scene in each text is nevertheless quite different. In Rinuccini’s Dafne, Echo is a spectacular device at the beginning of the drama, intended to induce wonder in the audience (and, more subtly, to refer to Guarini’s Echo scene), whereas in Guarini’s Pastor Fido Echo is a clever device used to announce a critical event, which modifies the development of the drama.42 In Dafne there are numerous other inter­textual references to Pastor Fido and Aminta, which show the strong connection of the genre to pastoral drama.43 Dafne’s pastoral themes interact with elements belonging to other genres, and the result is the ‹widening› of genres (as defined by Guarini). This leads to a new meta-poetic reading of Dafne.

Rinuccini’s drama is centered on the metamorphosis of Apollo, who at the outset of the play is depicted as an epic hero killing the terrible snake menacing the pastoral world. The language of this first part is high and elevated; in the very first verses the chorus appeals to Jupiter («Giove immortale»), almost as if it were an epic prologue.44

CORO
Giove immortal, che tra baleni e lampi
scoti la terra e ’l cielo,
mandane o fiamma o telo
che da mostro sì rio n’affidi e scampi. (vv. 36–39)
CORO
Ebra di sangue in questo oscuro bosco
Giacea pur dianzi la terribil fera. (vv. 44–45)

Many of the lexical and thematic elements of these verses belong to the epic tradition, despite the rhetorical devices (parallelism and couples of words) fit closer with a middle style.45 It is a stylistic mixture tending towards a high epic style, but keeps the typical stylistic features of musical poetry.46

Apollo then delivers a grand monologue praising his victory, where bucolic elements underline the positive atmosphere following the death of Python, as well as the pasto­ral setting of the play.47 The chorus also acclaims the god’s success:

CORO
Almo dio, che ’l carro ardente
per lo ciel volgendo intorno
vesti ’l dì d’un aureo manto,
se tra l’ombra orrida algente
splende il ciel di lume adorno,
è pur tua la gloria e il vanto.
Se germoglian frondi e fiori,
selve e prati, e rinnovella
l’ampia terra il suo bel manto,
se de’ suoi dolci tesori
ogni pianta si fa bella,
è pur tua la gloria e il vanto.
Per te vive e per te gode
quanto scerne occhio mortale,
o rettor del carro eterno:
ma si taccia ogn’altra lode,
sol de l’arco e de lo strale
voli il grido al ciel superno.
Nobil vanto: il fier dragone
di velen, di fiamme armato
su’l terren versat’ha l’alma;
per trecciar fregi e corone
al bel crin di raggi ornato
qual fia degno edera o palma? (vv. 67–90)

 

Some epic expressions are repeated to highlight Apollo’s status: «È pur tua la gloria e il vanto» is repeated two times, «edera o palma» are attributes of the Fame and form a parallelism with «fregi e corone».

During the confrontation with Cupid, Apollo loses his primacy: the «palma della vit­toria». Cupid thus triumphs over the epic god, who becomes a follower of the ‹religion of love›.48 Apollo undergoes a lowering in status: from epic god to bucolic figure, which was new for pastoral drama, since before Rinuccini it generally did not allow the pre­sence of gods as main characters.49 The passage from epic to pastoral atmosphere is an­nounced by the contrast between the last two pairs of words in two consecutive verses:

qual fia degno edera o palma?
AMORE
Che tu vadia cercando o giglio o rosa (vv. 90–91)

The traditionally bucolic flowers «giglio o rosa» are antithetical to «edera o palma», a noble and almost epic pair of plants.

Apollo’s lowering in status is underlined in the line delivered by Venus, who also plays a similar role in Rinuccini’s Euridice, where she again announces a transition:50

Pe’ boschi oggi sen van gli dei del cielo. (v. 99)

In the dialogue between Apollo and Cupid, Rinuccini builds up a sequence that plays on the metaphorical use of the word «bow», as Guarini does (in Pastor Fido, IV, 1027–1084 which represents an important textual model, as said before): the bow is both a war instrument (used in the struggle against the snake) and the instrument of Cupid’s revenge – a tool which inspires love. In this way the contrast between epic or trage­dy on the one hand, and bucolic or lyric on the other hand, is realized both thematically and rhetorically.

APOLLO
Dimmi, possente arciero,
qual fera attendi o qual serpente al varco
ch’hai la faretra e l’arco?
AMORE
Se da quest’arco mio
non fu Pitone ucciso,
arcier non son però degno di riso,
e son del cielo, Apollo, un nume anch’io.
APOLLO
Sollo; ma quando scocchi
l’arco, sbendi tu gli occhi
o ferisci a l’oscuro, arciero esperto?
VENERE
S’hai di saper desio
d’un cieco arcier le prove,
chiedilo al re dell’onde,
chiedilo in cielo a Giove,
e tra l’ombre profonde
del regno orrido oscuro
chiedi, chiedi a Pluton, s’ei fu sicuro!
APOLLO
S’in cielo, in mare, in terra
Amor trionfi in guerra,
dove, dove m’ascondo
chi novo ciel mi insegna o novo mondo?
AMORE
So ben che non paventi
la forza d’un fanciullo,
saettator di mostri e di serpenti.
Ma prendi pur di me gioco e trastullo.
APOLLO
Ah tu t’adiri a torto:
o mi perdona, Amore,
o se mi vuoi ferir risparmia ’l core. (vv. 100–127)

Cupid is defined as «possente arciero», «arcier non […] degno di riso», «arciero esper­to», «cieco arcier». Apollo uses the word «arciero» contentiously: on the one hand he wants to show the ideal model of the epic hero (Apollo himself) and, on the other hand, to mock Cupid. In contrast, Cupid wants to point out that both uses of the bow preserve the same dignity. Apollo claims that Cupid is incompatible with the epic world («S’in cielo, in mare, in terra / Amor trionfi in Guerra»), whereas the god of love provides ma­ny examples of his success among the gods:

Orsù, de l’alto cielo
mirin gli eterni dei
le glorie e vanti miei;
e voi quaggiù, mortali,
celebrate il valor de gl’aurei strali. (vv. 242–246.)
Madre, di gemme e d’oro
un bel carro m’appresta,
pommi su l’aurea testa
nobil fregio d’onor, cerchio frondoso;
veggammi oggi gli dei dell’alto cielo
trionfator pomposo.
Quel dio ch’intorno gira
il carro luminoso,
vinto dall’arco mio piange e sospira. (vv. 253–261)

 

Cupid acquires Apollo’s attributes («le glorie e i vanti miei»), which the chorus had previously attributed to the snake’s murderer («è pur tua la gloria e il vanto»), and «no­bil fregio d’onor, cerchio frondoso»: the symbol reserved to the winner of the struggle against the snake («per trecciar fregi e corone / al bel crin di raggi ornato / qual fia de­gno edera o palma?»).

Apollo, in his final claim, does not appear as a triumphant figure, rather he portrays himself through elegiac feelings:

Lumi, voi che vedeste
l’alta beltà che a lagrimar vi sforza,
affisatevi pure in questa fronde:
qui posa e qui s’asconde
il mio bene, il mio core, il mio tesoro,
per cui, ben ch’immortal, languisco e moro. (vv. 373–378)

At the end, Daphne is turned into a laurel and thus becomes a symbol of poetic fame, which Apollo wants to glorify:

I bei cigni di Dirce e i sommi regi
di verdeggianti rami al crin famoso
portin segno d’onor ghirlande e fregi. (vv. 391–393)

Apollo’s song ends in a pastoral tone, and a kind of meta-poetic definition of musical drama is given, that is «dolce cantando»:

Gregge mai né pastor fia che noioso
del verde manto suo la spogli e prive:
alla grat’ombra il dì lieto e gioioso
traggan dolce cantando e ninfe e dive. (vv. 394–397)

Apollo’s transformation from epic hero to unhappy lover coincides with a transforma­tion of genres within the new genre of musical drama. It is a sort of metamorphosis from an epic-tragic genre to a pastoral one: and indeed in Rinuccini’s operas the main theme is always love (in Euridice and Arianna love is firstly deceived and then reco­vered), and the setting always pastoral or marine. In any case, the special feature of the opera is not the transformation, but the coexistence of both (or even more) genres. Rinuccini needs the reference to tragedy in the prologue of Euridice, where many tragic elements (such as the discussion between the king (Pluto) and his counsellors), as well as cathartic tragic affects can be found.51 In this way he fulfills a Gattungsmischung, a word used by Ulrich Schulz-Buschhaus to identify the main characteristic of literary works of the Baroque age.52

This meta-literary reading can be justified not only by the interest in poetics, which Rinuccini affirms in his preface and which the Camerata dei Bardi had already demon­strated, but also through Dafne’s setting: the first representation was not performed in an ‹official›, festive occasion, as the play took place at Corsi’s residence. The mostly academic audience can be assumed to have had a particular interest in issues to do with poetics.53 The paramount influence of the context and the reliability of a meta-literary interpretation of Rinuccini’s Dafne are indirectly confirmed by another play: the Ger­man version of Dafne translated by Martin Opitz and set to music by Heinrich Schütz (1627). This German version of Dafne displays different characteristics, which can be rexplained by the fact that the opera was performed as a part of wedding celebrations.54 In any case, the meta-literary interpretation does not exclude the possibility of ref­erences to political or encomiastic issues, as Russano Hanning persuasively demonstra­ted in the case of Dafne.55 In fact, the first opera librettos contained a complex system of meanings and references, which did not guarantee cohesion of the whole text.56 In the case of Dafne however, a coherent interpretation, including all the elements of the libretto, can be provided.

Rinuccini’s Dafne has a didactic goal. That Rinuccini does not only aim at pleasing, but also at instructing is clear from Ovid’s declaration in the prologue,57 in which he re­fers to the Metamorphoses (and that is the subject of Dafne) as well as to his Ars amandi:58

OVIDIO
Quel mi son io, che su la dotta lira
cantai le fiamme de’ celesti amanti,
e i trasformati lor vari sembianti
soave sì, ch’il mondo ancor m’ammira.
Indi l’arte insegnai come si deste
in un gelato sen fiamma d’amore,
e come in libertà ritorni un core
cui son d’amor le fiamme aspre e moleste. (vv. 5–12)

The importance of «docere» is undeniable in the context of the first musical dramas. The wedding celebrations for Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV were held in 1600 and consisted of the staging (among other forms of entertainment) of some of the first operas (Rinuccini’s Euridice, Chiabrera’s Rapimento di Cefalo). In his Descrizione delle felicissime nozze della Cristianissima Maestà di Madama Maria Medici Regina di Francia e di Navarra Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane describes the events occurring during the festivities from an official point of view.59 The Descrizione was commissioned by the Medici themselves, since traces of their requests and modifi­cations can be seen in the journey from manuscript to press. Referring to Euridice and describing its effects on the public, Michelangelo mentions only the «piacere»: the pleasure produced by the dramatic work. He further distinguishes between mental and sensual pleasure, as Marco da Gagliano also does in his preface to Dafne: «Dopo questa mutazion sola la scena di prima tornò, né più si vide mutare: il tutto compiutamente passando con onore di chi a condurla in qualunque parte vi intervenne; e con piacer vario, e di men­te di senso in chi vi fu spettatore» (Buonarroti 1863, p. 428). The space reserved for Euridice in the Descrizione is very small (it was described as an «affettuosa e gentilissima favola»), as was the attention it received during the cele­brations. The play took place in a small stanza in the Palazzo Pitti (in the apartments of Don Antonio de’ Medici) and its staging was possible only after the payment of a large amount of money by Jacopo Corsi. This clearly shows that Euridice was part of the pro­gram, but it was not the central event of the wedding celebrations.60

In contrast, Michelangelo devotes many pages to a meticulous description of Rapi­mento di Cefalo, the «dramma maggiore» (official drama), which was performed in the Teatro mediceo on the 9 October and which was described as a «nobilissima favola, e di superbo apparato». At the end, Michelangelo mentions the two goals of this play: to cause wonder as well as to teach, to purge as well as to delight:

Dalle machine adunque la maraviglia, che è la prima cagione dello imparare, ed è fine in somiglianti cose dello inventore di esse, fuori di ogni capacità vi s’apprese: dalla nobile e graziosa favola la mo­ralità e ’l costume divino e l’umano; il quale con bel decoro essendovi espresso, ne purgava le menti degli uditori, traendoli a giustizia e a dirittura di vero amore; come ancora si potette trarre dallo ’ntessimento di parole ottime, che immagini sono de’ pensieri interni, e dalla squisita e rara musica e varia, ottimamente a’ personaggi e a’ concetti adattata e non simile più forse udita, della quale non senza proposizione tal’ora fu detta esser composta l’anima umana. Per la natura delle cose in­fine dagli inventori delle macchine, e da’ musici componitori, e cantanti in cielo, in mare e sopra terra (somministrandola il poeta) fatta conoscere e dimostrata perfettamente, sì magnifico e sì dilet­tevole componimento e soave ne resultò, che l’animo degli spettatori invescatene stranamente (quantunque più tosto in rimembrandole, maraviglie d’uomo dormente alla memoria ingannata par che si offerano, che corpi in arteficiale teatro rappresentati), piacere alcuno avriano creduto giam­mai a quello essersi potuto agguagliare. (Buonarroti 1863, p. 449–450)

«Docere» is probably set as a goal because of the utmost importance of Rapimento, the value of which, from a political point of view, was greater than of Euridice – that is why pleasure alone is reserved to the latter. In the case of Rinuccini’s Dafne the didac­tic function can be seen as a technique employed to make the new genre acceptable: in this way the originality of music drama could appear less groundbreaking, even less ‹dangerous› and be justified through his didactic purpose.61 Thus the incompatibility with some of the Aristotelian rules (as the mixing of dramatic genres demonstrates) is counterbalanced by additional emphasis on the conformity with other rules (the di­dactic goal).

As pointed out, Giason Denores also pleaded for literature created for didactic pur­poses. Nonetheless, Denores’s idea of literature having a moral significance is quite different from Rinuccini’s understanding: Denores asserts that literature is closely tied to moral and civic philosophy and that the community can actually benefit from it, because it rejects vices and encourages virtue. Furthermore, according to Denores, lit­erature can also have a political purpose by strengthening the republic, and this goal can be realized only by three literary genres: epic, tragedy and comedy.62

[I governatori delle repubbliche] permisero ultimamente, che a’ medesimi loro cittadini ne’ tempi debiti si recitassero alcune diverse forme di poesie or cantando; or rappresentando, ordite, e com­poste in tal guisa, che gli ritirassero dal vizio, che operassero in loro virtù, & gl’inanimassero alla conservazione di quella tal ben istituita maniera di stato, alla cui potestà, e leggi prestavano ubbi­dienza. […] Onde determinarono, che a loro cittadini si proponessero tre sorti di Poesie; il poe­ma eroico, che raccontasse qualche azion di alcun principe legittimo, che si affatticasse, per liberar da travaglio, e per render felici i suoi compagni, e sudditi, a differenza del tiranno, che suol loro procurar ogni ruina, e distrugimento per guadagno, e per utile di se stesso; la tragedia, per ispaven­targli dalla tirannide; e la commedia, per ben disponergli alla vita populare.63

Denores admits that what makes people want to attend a play is pleasure only (Orlan­do Furioso), but he also argues that an author should aim at instructing as well as pleasing the public:

Imperocché chi si conduce a simili spettacoli, va principalmente per diporto, e per passatempo, e nondimeno con leggiadro inganno, senza avvedersi, riceve anco non mediocre benefizio, e giova­mento, a tal che in quanto all’auditor, il principal fine della poesia per il più non è altro, che il diletto, ma in quanto all’intenzion del buon poeta verso l’auditor, il principal fine della poesia è la utilità, comandata da’ filosofi, e da’ governatori delle reppubbliche. E il dilettar l’adopera egli co­me istromento, e mezzo d’introdur la utilità negli animi degli ascoltanti.64

The didactic goal of Dafne, which is highlighted in the epilogue through the idea of the exemplary history of Apollo and Dafne,65 has nothing to do with politics: it partici­pates in the vernacular love literature of the Renaissance. The subject of love and parti­cularly of the reciprocity of love was central in academic discourses:66 Lorenzo Giaco­mini, a member of both the Accademia degli Alterati (to which Corsi probably be­longed) and of the Accademia Fiorentina, wrote a lesson on love in which he stressed the concept of the pleasure inherent in the reciprocity of love: «[…] è abito dell’appetito sensitivo, pel quale con veemente affetto desideriamo, e vogliamo bene a persona par­saci bella per fine di diletto, principalmente nell’essere riamati».67

Giacomini insists on this idea, describing the opposing feelings felt as a consequence of either the presence or lack of love:

L’essere amato da chi è sommamente amato da noi, e da chi sommamente desideriamo di essere amati, in questo collocando la nostra felicità, e ricevere in dono l’animo dell’amato, dono sopra ogni bene dall’amante apprezzato, avanza tutti i diletti, che egli possa conseguire; siccome il non essere amato, ed in vece di amore ricevere odio, e disprezzo avanza tutti i dolori, che egli possa sentire.68

It is no coincidence that the history of Dafne is chosen for such a purpose: Ariosto puts Dafne in hell among the «donne ingrate» in his Orlando Furioso (Canto XXXIV).69 Ri­nuccini makes use of the same literary topos in Ballo delle ingrate,70 which was staged in 1608 in Mantua for the marriage celebrations for Francesco Gonzaga and Margherita di Savoia. Ten years later, Rinuccini again follows his poetics of docere, which in this case is completely supported by the nuptial context.

In summary, Rinuccini’s Dafne stands at the crossroad between the new poetics of Gattungsmischung, which clearly constitutes an important subject for reflection of the Florentine author, and the poetics of docere, which places the new drama in a long lit­erary tradition. In the entangled context of the late 16th century debates on poetics, Rinuccini brings together most diverse, often experimental and heterogeneous tenden­cies and, in doing so, he sparks off the new genre of the dramma per musica.

  1. See Rolf Lohse’s recent monography, Renaissancedrama und humanistische Poetik in Italien, Pader­born: Wilhelm Fink 2015. – This article is a revised and extended version of the paper delivered at the RSA conference in Berlin in 2015. The main ideas presented here will be developed in a chapter of my PhD thesis («Die mythologischen Musikdramen des 17. Jhs.: eine gattungstypologische Unter­suchung»), which I am currently completing at the Freie Universität Berlin. In my dissertation, I dis­cuss the first mythological operas within the context of the dramatic genres that were mixed into it: tragedy, pastoral, and comedy. This study aims at providing new insight into the problem of opera and politics, as well as on poetics and practice of the first librettists. I wish in particular to thank Ale­xander Winkler and Dr. Tatiana Korneeva for their valuable feedback and their precious support and Paul Muscat for his linguistic revision.
  2. The connection between the Camerata dei Bardi and the creators of the first musical drama is contro­versial. Although Bardi was in contact with Peri, Rinuccini, and Corsi, what is certain is that the Ca­merata and Corsi’s group were «really two different and separate […] social and intellectual circles». See Claude V. Palisca: «The Alterati of Florence, Pioneers in the Theory of Dramatic Music», in: William Austin (ed.): New Looks at Italian Opera. Essays in Honor of Donald J. Grout, Ithaca: Cor­nell University Press 1968, p. 9–38, here p. 9–10.
  3. Rinuccini borrows from Mei’s theory, as the prologue of his Euridice clearly demonstrates: «È stata opinione di molti, Cristianissima Regina, che gli antichi Greci e Romani cantassero sulle scene le tra­gedie intere […]» (in L’Euridice d’Ottavio Rinuccini, rappresentata nello sponsalitio della Christia­nissima Regina di Francia, e di Navarra, Firenze: Cosimo Giunti 1600, unpaginated). Rinuccini however does not exclusively follow the model of the tragedy as he mixes up different dramatic genres, and this might be explained using Guarini’s theory.
  4. Il Corago, a cura di Paolo Fabbri e Angelo Pompilio, Firenze: Olschki 1983.
  5. Fabbri/Pompilio 1983, p. 12.
  6. In Giovan Battista Doni: De’ trattati di musica, a cura di Anton Francesco Gori, II, Firenze: Stampe­ria imperiale 1763.
  7. The Stilmischung, which is arguably closely related to the mixture of genres, was clearly perceived as an innovation by contemporaries, such as Giovanni Bardi. Cf. Laura Riccò: Dalla zampogna all’aurea cetra. Egloghe, pastorali, favole in musica, Roma: Bulzoni 2015: «Quando Giovanni de’ Bardi rim­piange la commedia del 1589 con i suoi intermedi, rimpiange proprio quella politica spettacolare della separatezza degli stili che a un decennio di distanza ha subito pesanti ‹perdite›»(p. 156).
  8. The link between Guarini’s theory and Rinuccini’s dramas has been long established and accepted by scholars; see Paolo Fabbri, Il secolo cantante. Per una storia del libretto d’opera in Italia nel Sei­cento, Bulzoni: Roma 2003, p. 15. Also Elisabetta Selmi, whose enquiries are dedicated to Guarini, recognized this connection: «Il piacere delle emozioni, nella dialettica intellettuale della finzione gua­riniana, diviene, pertanto, il mezzo e il fine di cui si appaga e in cui si circoscrive l’essenza della rap­presentazione: una traiettoria di sviluppo che anticipa lo spirito del melodramma, d’imminente trion­fo sulla scena barocca», Elisabetta Selmi: «Classici» e «Moderni» nell’officina del ‹Pastor Fido›, Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso 2002, p. 43.
  9. Plauto defined his Amphitruo a tragicomoedia. On tragicomedy, see the now classical but still valu­able study by Marvin Herrick: Tragicomedy: its Origin and Development in Italy, France, and Eng­land, Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1962, which offers a comprehensive historical overview of the genre. For some specifications of terminology see Lohse 2015, p. 485–524. Cf. also a recent and stimulating publication by Gigliucci, which links tragicomedy and opera: Roberto Gigliucci: Tragi­comico e melodramma. Studi secenteschi, Milano/Udine: Mimesis 2011. See the bibliography on tra­gicomedy at p. 33. Pastoral and tragicomedy, thought they have to be distinguished, are tightly bound (cf. Herrick 1962, p. 125). The third dramatic genre represented a training ground for experi­mentations and genre-mixtures since the 15th century (consider, for example, Poliziano’s Orfeo and the following drammi mescidati) and for poetic theories in the 16th century.
  10. Cinzio had more success as a writer of tragedies than as author of pastoral dramas: indeed his Egle did not become a model for the third dramatic genre. In particular, Egle’s unhappy ending was re­fused by the subsequent authors of pastoral dramas. Cinzio’s lettera can be read in Scritti critici, a cu­ra di Camillo Guerrieri Crocetti, Milano: Marzorati 1973, p. 225–242. For an updated bibliography on Cinzio, see Irene Romera Pintor: «Bibliografia giraldiana», in: Studi giraldiani, 1/2015, p. 125–172.
  11. Verrato primo, p. 232. I will quote some excerpts of the two Verrati from the edition Delle opere del cavalier Battista Guarini, in Verona: Giovanni Alberto Tumermani 1737–1738; Verrato primo: Il Verrato ovvero difesa di quanto ha scritto Messer Giason De Nores contra le tragicommedie, e le pastorali, in un suo discorso di poesia (vol. II); Verrato secondo: Il Verato secondo ovvero replica dell’Attizzato accademico ferrarese in difesa del Pastor Fido, contra la seconda scrittura di Messer Giason De Nores intitolata Apologia (vol. III). See also: «E perché non è lecito all’Egloga uscire della sua infanzia, e pervenire agli anni maturi, se l’ha potuto far la Tragedia?» (Verrato primo, p. 295). Cf. Selmi 2002, p. 14.
  12. Verrato primo, p. 296–297.
  13. Verrato primo, p. 261; cf. also: «finalmente il mondo è giudice de’ Poeti, ed egli dà la sentenza in­appellabile» (Verrato primo, p. 233). Cf. Selmi 2002, p. 20.
  14. Battista Guarini: Il Pastor Fido e il Compendio della poesia tragicomica, a cura di Gioachino Brogno­ligo, Bari: Laterza 1914, p. 231.
  15. Compendio, p. 248.
  16. «[…] il temperamento del diletto tragico e comico, che non lascia traboccare gli ascoltanti nella so­verchia né malinconia tragica né dissoluzione comica. Da che risulta un poema di eccellentissima for­ma e temperatura, non solo molto corrispondente all’umana complessione, che tutta solamente con­siste nella temperie di quattro umori, ma della semplice e tragedia e commedia molto più nobile, come quello che non ci reca l’atrocità de’ casi, il sangue e le morti, che sono viste orribili ed inumane, e non ci fa, dall’altro lato, sì dissoluti nel riso, che pecchiamo contro la modestia e ’l decoro d’uom costumato.» (Compendio, p. 233).
  17. «[…] la Tragicommedia anch’essa ha due fini, l’istrumentale ch’è forma risultante dall’imitazione di cose Tragiche, e Comiche miste insieme, e l’architettonico ch’è il purgar gli animi dal male affetto della maninconia» (Verrato primo, p. 258). On the cathartic goal of pastoral dramas, particularly of Guarini’s Pastor Fido and Tasso’s Aminta, see Federico Schneider: Pastoral Drama and Healing in Early Modern Italy, Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate 2010.
  18. «E, per venire all’età nostra, che bisogno abbiamo noi oggidì di purgare il terrore e la commiserazione con le tragiche viste, avendo i precetti santissimi della nostra religione, che ce l’insegna con la parola evangelica?» (Compendio, p. 245).
  19. In the post-Tridentine Italy, «tragedic fate too closely resembled Calvinist predestination and […] the moral earnestness of the reforming church could not well countenance the carnivalesque trangres­sions of earlier Cinquecento comedy» (Robert Henke: Pastoral Transformations. Italian Tragicome­dy and Shakespeare’s Late Plays, Newark: Delaware University Press 1997, p. 74). Lohse interprets Guarini’s statement on religion as a claim in favor of the independence of art from religion – and not as a Counter-Reformation issue (Lohse 2015, p. 203).
  20. Guarini follows «una logica inferenziale che sfaccetta, per via d’espansioni interne, il significato del testo aristotelico» (Selmi 2002, p. 15).
  21. Denores’ Discorso will be quoted from the Tumermani-edition of Guarini’s works (vol. II).
  22. This debate involved far more authors, see Bernhard Weinberg: «The quarrel over Guarini’s Pastor Fido», in: Id., A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1961, p. 1074–1105.
  23. See Riccò 2015, p. 155 n. 38.
  24. Cf. Selmi 2002, p. 19.
  25. On Ingegneri, see the recent publication of Baldassarri Guido: Angelo Ingegneri. Itinerari di un «uomo di lettere», Vicenza: Accademia Olimpica 2013, which includes a rich and updated biblio­gra­phy, and especially Laura Riccò: Ben mille pastorali: l’itinerario dell’Ingegneri da Tasso a Guarini e oltre, Roma: Bulzoni 2004.
  26. Angelo Ingegneri: Della poesia rappresentativa e del modo di rappresentare le favole sceniche, a cura di Maria Luisa Doglio, Modena: Edizioni Panini 1989, p. 7.
  27. «[Le tragedie] Alla fine come imitazione d’azioni reali e di regie persone (portando massimamente il costume d’oggi altra pompa d’apparato e d’abiti che forse non si richiedeva a’ tempi di Sofocle per rappresentare verbigrazia un povero re di Tebe oltraggiato dal cognato e minacciato dall’indovino) ri­cercano a punto borsa reale, la quale con sano giudicio i principi d’oggidì riserbano per la conserva­zione degli Stati loro e per la securezza e commodità de’ loro sudditi», ibid.
  28. See again Selmi 2002, p. 21.
  29. Scarpati explains that, according to Guarini’s poetics, literature does not have a direct didactic and moral purpose, as he distinguishes between moral and poetics. Guarini resolves «la diatriba sul delec­tare e sul docere con l’insistere sul fatto che ‹il poema drammatico diletta e giova perché dispone e non perché insegni› [from Verrato primo, f. 30 r.].», Claudio Scarpati: «Poetica e retorica in Battista Guarini», in: Id., Studi sul Cinquecento italiano, Milano: Vita e pensiero 1985, p. 206.
  30. «Benchè dal Sig Emilio del Cavaliere, prima che da ogni altro, ch’io sappia, con maravigliosa inven­zione ci fusse data udire la nostra Musica su le scene; Piacque nondimeno a’ Signori Iacopo Corsi, ed Ottavio Rinuccini (fin l’anno 1594) che io adoperandola in altra guisa, mettessi sotto le note la favo­la di Dafne, dal Signor Ottavio composta, per fare una semplice pruova di quello, che potesse il canto dell’età nostra.», Iacopo Peri: A lettori, in: Le musiche di Iacopo Peri nobil fiorentino Sopra l’Euri­dice del Sig Ottavio Rinuccini […], Firenze: Marescotti, 1600.
  31. Tim Carter: «Correspondence to the Editors of Music & Letters», in: Music and Letters, 59/1978, p. 522–523, here p. 522. The first complete chronological study of Dafne is Oscar G. Sonneck: «Daf­ne, the first opera. A chronological study», in: Sammelbände der internationalen Musikgesell­schaft, 15/1913, p. 102–110; some incorrect chronological dates are corrected by Carter. On some phi­lological questions, see Frederick W. Sternfeld: «The First Printed Opera Libretto», in: Music and Letters, 59/1978, p. 121–138. On Dafne’s music, the score of which is lost but some musical excerpts are preserved, see William W. Porter: «Peri and Corsi’s Dafne: Some New Discoveries and Observa­tions», in: Journal of the American Musicological Society, 18/1965, p. 170–196. On Cavalieri and his pastoral dramas see Warren Kirkendale: Emilio de’ Cavalieri, ‹Gentiluomo romano›: his Life and Letters, his Role as Superintendent of all the Arts at the Medici Court, and his Musical Compositions, Firenze: Olschki 2001, particularly p. 185–212.
  32. See La Dafne di Marco da Gagliano Nell’Accademia de gl’Elevati L’Affannato Rappresentata In Mantova, Firenze: Appresso Cristofano Marescotti 1608.
  33. See Rinuccini’s dedication of Euridice to Maria de’ Medici, in L’Euridice d’Ottavio Rinuccini rappre­sentata nello sponsalitio della Christianissima regina di Francia, e di Navarra, Firenze: Giunti 1600.
  34. Carter 1978.
  35. See Tim Carter: «Music and Patronage in Late Sixteenth-Century Florence. The Case of Jacopo Corsi (1561–1602)», in: I Tatti Studi in the Italian Renaissance, 1/1985, p. 57–104, and Donatella Pegaz­zano: Committenza e collezionismo nel Cinquecento. La famiglia Corsi a Firenze tra musica e scultu­ra, Firenze: Edifir 2010.
  36. See Barbara Russano Hanning’s articles and book: «Apologia pro Ottavio Rinuccini», in: American Musicological Society, 26/1973, p. 240–262; «Communication», in: American Musicological Society, 29/1976, p. 501–503; «Glorious Apollo: Poetic and Political Themes in the first Opera», in: Renais­sance Quarterly, 32/1979, p. 485–513, and Of Poetry and Music’s Power. Humanism and the Crea­tion of Opera, Ann Arbor: UMI 1980. See also Tim Carter, Richard A. Goldthwaite: Orpheus in the Marketplace. Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence, Cambridge/London: Har­vard University Press 2013, p. 115, which supports Hanning’s allegorical interpretation of Apollo’s episode.
  37. «The libretto of Dafne does indeed consist of a dramatically unwieldy juxtaposition of disparate situ­ations which are unsatisfying for audiences and critics who expect only dramatic unity, convincing characters, and motivated actions» (Hanning 1979, p. 486–487). See also Gary A. Tomlinson: «Anco­ra su Ottavio Rinuccini», in: American Musicological Society, 28/1975, p. 351–356.
  38. The bibliography on the pastoral drama is vast. To quote but a few most relevant publications: Marzia Pieri: La scena boschereccia nel Rinascimento italiano, Padova: Liviana 1983; Riccò 2004; Lisa Sampson: Pastoral Drama in Early Modern Italy: the Making of a New Genre, London: Modern Humanities Reseach Association 2006.
  39. Dafne can be read in: Libretti d’opera italiani dal Seicento al Novecento, a cura di Giovanna Gronda e Paolo Fabbri, Milano: Mondadori 1997, p. 3–20. Here are cited vv. 44–55.
  40. Battista Guarini: Il Pastor Fido, a cura di Elisabetta Selmi, Venezia: Marsilio 1999; IV, 1027–1084.
  41. On the topic of hunting vs. love, see Giovanni Bàrberi Squarotti: Selvaggia dilettanza. La caccia nella letteratura italiana dalle origini a Marino, Venezia: Marsilio 2000.
  42. «Il motivo dell’eco, di ampia fortuna nel dramma pastorale, trova una delle sue più brillanti realizza­zioni nell’abile regia guariniana che ne fissa il modello scenico per la tradizione eglogistico-melodrammatica. […] Il Guarini rifiuta di fare dell’eco un personaggio che agisce sulla scena […]. Ma, soprattutto, come ribadisce l’Ingegneri, fa in modo che l’invenzione possa essere ‹adoprata per istrignere il nodo, od agevolarne la soluzione›. È questa la funzione che l’eco guariniana svolge rispet­to agli sviluppi drammatici della parte episodica» (Selmi 1999, p. 424–425).
  43. A full discussion of these references and their implications with regard to a possible political interpre­tation, will be provided in my PhD thesis.
  44. See the apostrophes to Jupiter in Virgil’s Aeneis (2,689, 4,206, 5,687, 9,625).
  45. On style and rhetoric devices, see Tasso’s Discorsi del poema eroico, in: Id., Scritti sull’arte poetica, a cura di Ettore Mazzali, Torino: Einaudi 1977.
  46. The references to the tragedy also play an important role in this first part. They will be fully investiga­ted in my thesis.
  47. APOLLO: «Pur giacque estinto al fine / in su ’l terren sanguigno / da l’invitt’arco mio l’angue maligno. / Securi itene al bosco, / ninfe e pastori, ite securi al prato: / non più di fiamma e tosco / infetta ’l puro ciel l’orribil fiato. / Tornin le belle rose / ne le guancie amorose; / torni tranquillo il cor, sereno ’l vol­to: / io l’alma e ’l fiato al crudo serpe ho tolto» (vv. 56–66).
  48. In Rinuccini’s Dafne some intertextual connections to Petrarca’s Canzoniere can be found, in which Apollo plays also an importante role: see Bojan Bujic: «Stilemi petrarcheschi nei libretti delle pri­me opere in musica», in: Loredana Chines (ed.): Petrarchismo: un modello di poesia per l’Europa, Roma: Bulzoni 2006, p. 465–484.
  49. The only pastoral dramas, which mixed gods and sheperds, are supposed to have been written by Ca­valieri: «Nella pastorale in musica […], i ‹solisti› Fileno e Clori, accompagnati dal Coro, erano private persone alle prese con dei del cielo e spiriti inferi, cioè i personaggi del genere comico (ora in veste pastorale) agivano insieme ai personaggi degli intermezzi: si unificavano così, per farcitura di quel ‹campo franco› sperimentale e alla moda che le selve erano diventate nella prassi teatrale del tempo, i due mondi spettacolari che il pubblico fiorentino era abituato a vedere separati. Dagli intermezzi, infatti, è più plausibile che provenissero le figure divine che non da pastorali lontane nel tempo o nei modi» (Riccò 2015, p. 129). Cavalieri’s works should have influenced Rinuccini’s dramas, as Riccò claims (p. 137).
  50. See Ead., p. 175.
  51. Rinuccini realizes also a «tragedia in musica» with the Arianna. In my PhD thesis I will focus on this peculiar mixture of genres.
  52. See Ulrich Schulz-Buschhaus: «Gattungsmischung–Gattungskombination–Gattungsnivellierung. Überlegungen zum Gebrauch des literarhistorischen Epochenbegriffs Barock», in: Hans Ulrich Gum­brecht (Hrsg.): Epochenschwellen und Epochenstrukturen im Diskurs der Literatur- und Sprach­historie, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 1985, p. 213–233.
  53. An allegorical interpretation, which takes into account the correspondence between mythological fi­gures and real (and royal) people, can be applied to Euridice: many scholars see in the figure of Euri­dice either Maria de’ Medici or the city of Florence. This interpretation is justified by the context of the royal wedding, in which the gods may stand for an allegorical representation of the marrying cou­ple. The play thus becomes a mirror of reality and of the audience itself. See, for example (but the bibliography on Rinuccini’s Euridice is very vast), Sara Mamone: Firenze e Parigi. Due capitali dello spettacolo per una regina. Maria de’ Medici, Silvana editoriale: Cinisello Balsamo 1987, and Gaspare De Caro: Euridice. Momenti dell’Umanesimo civile fiorentino, Ut Orpheus Edizioni: Bologna 2006. I believe however that the correspondence between extratextual and intratextual figures has to be ex­plored more precisely, as I will show in my dissertation.
  54. In my thesis I will compare Rinuccini’s, Da Gagliano’s and Opitz’s Dafne (1600, 1608 and 1627), in order to specify the connections between text and context.
  55. Russano Hanning 1973.
  56. This complex system of meanings depends on the nature of the opera, arising through the collabora­tion between librettist, musician(s), patrons, etc. Differing requirements (of political or poetic nature, for example) are to be found – especially in more complex situations, like by the marriage’s celebra­tions of 1600.
  57. Gier defines Dafne’s message «eine ganz karnevalistische Moral», in Albert Gier: Das Libretto. Theo­rie und Geschichte einer musikoliterarischen Gattung, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesell­schaft 1998, p. 43.
  58. According to Osthoff there is also a reference to the Heroides («celesti amanti»): see Wolfgang Ost­hoff: «Daphnes Metamorphose in der frühen italienischen Oper», in: Heidi Marek, Anne Neuschäfer und Susanne Tichy (ed.): Metamorphosen. Festschrift für Bodo Guthmüller zum 65. Geburtstag, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag 2002, p. 141–162, here p. 141.
  59. The Descrizione can be read in Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane: «Descrizione delle felicissime nozze della Cristianissima Maestà di Madama Maria Medici regina di Francia e di Nauarra», in: Id.: Opere Varie di M.A. Buonarroti il Giovane. Alcune delle quali non mai stampate. Raccolta da Pietro Fanfani, Firenze: Le Monnier 1863, p. 403–454.
  60. Our present perspective on the drama and on its success is conditioned by the influence of Rinuccini’s play on the later musical dramas and by his role as a literary and musical model.
  61. This didactic function, which does not appear in the following musical dramas by Rinuccini, was borrowed from a narrative genre – the short mythological poem, in particular from Luigi Alamanni’s Favola di Narcisso. This short poem was published 1532 within Alamanni’s Opere toscane and la­ter also in Stanze di diversi illustri poeti, an anthology of poems «in ottava rima» written by famous authors and edited by Ludovico Dolce. Alamanni’s poemetto was therefore well known in the six­teenth and seventeenth centuries. In my PhD thesis I will show the intertextual connections between Alamanni’s Narcisso and Rinuccini’s Dafne.
  62. Guarini instead pursues a separation between rhetoric, poetics and politics. See Scarpati 1985, espe­cially p. 205: «il Segretario ha il suo fulcro teorico nella difesa della specificità della retorica condotta a riconoscere il suo riferimento primo nella dialettica e metodologicamente svincolata dalla subordi­nazione alla politica. Il tardo dialogo, ad un’osservazione comparativa, situato nell’insieme dell’opero­sità guariniana, mostra di occupare una posizione esattamente complementare rispetto agli scritti at­traverso cui si snodò la lunga polemica con Giasone De Nores. Il Segretario assolve sul versante della retorica lo stesso compito di definizione disciplinare che i due Verrati svolgono nei confronti della poetica».
  63. Denores 1587, p. 155.
  64. Ibid., p. 190.
  65. «Ma s’a’ preghi sospirosi, / amorosi, / di pietà sfavillo ed ardo, / s’io prometto all’altrui pene / dolce spene / con un riso e con un guardo, / non soffrir, cortese Amore, / che ’l mio ardore / prenda a scherno alma gelata, / non soffrir ch’in piaggia o ’n lido / cor infido / m’abbandoni innamorata. / Fa’ ch’al foco de’ miei lumi / si consumi / ogni gelo, ogni durezza; / ardi poi quest’alma all’ora / ch’altra adora, / qual si sia la mia bellezza»: vv. 428–445.
  66. On the reciprocity of love in love treatises of the Cinquecento, see Maiko Favaro: «L’ospite preziosa». Presenze della lirica nei trattati d’amore del Cinquecento e del primo Seicento, Lucca: maria pacini fazzi editore 2012, p. 167–172.
  67. Raccolta di Prose Fiorentine. Parte seconda. Volume Quinto. Contenente lezioni, Firenze: Per li Tar­tini, e Franchi 1730, p. 124. Rinuccini repeates in the same page: «per conseguirne diletto princi­palmente nell’esser riamato».
  68. Lezione quarta, p. 135. Later Giacomini even quotes Alamanni among the poets who wrote verses on an unlucky love (Dante, Petrarca, Bembo, Sannazzaro, Casa, Martelli).
  69. See Chiara Cassiani: «Il mito di Dafne nell’Orlando Furioso», in: Giuseppe Izzi (ed.): Nello specchio del mito. Riflessi di una tradizione. Atti del Convegno di Studi, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, 17–19 febbraio 2010, Firenze: Cesati 2012, p. 273–29.
  70. See Stefano Patuzzi: «Da Ariosto al Ballo delle ingrate. Un itinerario di affluenze», in: Piero Gargiulo, Alessandro Magini, Stéphane Toussaint (ed.): Neoplatonismo, musica, letteratura nel Rinascimen­to: i Bardi di Vernio e l’Accademia della Crusca. Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Firenze – Vernio, 25–26 settembre 1998, Paris: Société Marsile Ficin 2000, p. 73–81.