Costumes and Cosmopolitanism: Italian Opera in the North

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This article explores operatic costumes from a perspective of cultural exchange, with a focus on Giuseppe Sarti, first director of the permanent opera theatre in Copenhagen. Sarti's Danish audience had almost no prior exposure to opera and little understanding of Italian. After a disastrous first season, he took measures to realise more successful productions of Italian opera in a context of migration, notably by focussing on the costumes to bypass language differences. I argue here that the theatrical costumes commissioned by Sarti were crucial tools for transmitting and adapting the operatic genre to its new context, functioning as visual signifiers and as body technology. They represented the audience’s first encounter with the character and conveyed crucial information about dramaturgy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCambridge Opera Journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

ID: 247872432