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«Mostruoso a vedere un Pergolesi coi baffi». Il mito in scena nel 1857 tra Milano (Solera - Ronchetti Monteviti) e Napoli (Quercia - Serrao)


During the Nineteenth Century, the fame reached by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was so large that the historical figure of the composer born in Jesi was transformed in a “dramatis persona”. Pergolesi appears as a character in two different operas dated to 1857. The first one is “Pergolese” by Temistocle Solera and Stefano Ronchetti Monteviti, performed in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala; the second one is “Pergolesi”, a “melodramma semiserio” by Fedrico Quercia set to music by Paolo Serrao and staged at the Teatro del Fondo in Naples. The two works mix historical elements with details drawn from pure fantasy. Their main purpose is to exalt the figure of the unfortunate and tormented artist, transforning him into a romantic icon. Both the composers insert in their scores fragments of music by (or falsely attributed to) Pergolesi: Ronchetti Monteviti echoes four sections of the “Stabat mater” (“Vidit suum”, “Quando corpus”, “Stabat mater” and “Cuius animam”); Serrao quotes the spurious aria “Tre giorni son che Nina” and the “Eia mater” and the “Vidit suum” from the “Stabat”. This treatment can be connected to the process of “fictionalizing of music history” well studied by Sarah Hibberd, as well as to a larger tendency to actualize the musical past by means of revivals and historical concerts.