• KovaM

The Permanent Seminar of the research group Historical and Cultural Studies in Music of INET-md intends to be a forum where all its members (integrated and collaborators), as well as other invited researchers from the academic, cultural and artistic circles, may present their work and discuss ongoing projects and research.
25-06-2024 | 4 p.m. | NOVA FCSH, Colégio Almada Negreiros (Campolide) | Room 219
Free access, in person and online.
Sala Zoom
Meeting ID: 959 5763 0835
Password: 731156
Mapping emotions in eighteenth-century Italian opera
Álvaro Torrente | Universidad Complutense de Madrid
The belief that ‘the end of music is to move human affections’ (Descartes, Compendium musicae) has been a central issue in European musical thought since Plato. Opera was invented to recover the power of Ancient music to move the human heart, and its history is a permanent exploration of the capacity of action, words and music to convey emotions.
In the eighteenth century a new type of opera consolidated with the chief concern of expressing the character’s emotions as they changed throughout the drama, inspired by Descartes’ theory of human passions. The key expressive medium was the aria col da capo, where a single, distinct passion was represented, like a concentrated pill of emotional meaning. The ideal corpus to study this issue are the 1,000 operas set to music by 300 composers on the 26 dramas by Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782). It contains a comprehensive catalogue of emotions in music, a unique window of opportunity to scrutinize conventions that defined music expression and meaning for over a century.
This lecture will present preliminary results of the Didone Project, an innovative approach to unveil these conventions through the creation of a corpus of 3,000 digitized arias from 200 opera scores based on Metastasio’s five most popular dramas, to be analysed using traditional methods and big data computer technology. The comparative scrutiny of dozens of different musical settings of the same librettos will reveal how composers correlate specific dramatic circumstances and emotions with distinct poetic and musical features.
Álvaro Torrente Sánchez-Guisande | Full Professor of Musicology at the Complutense University of Madrid, Álvaro Torrente, son of the Cervantes Prize Winner for Literature, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester, has a degree in musicology from the Universidad de Salamanca (1993). He also holds a doctorate from the University of Cambridge, where he wrote a thesis entitled The Sacred Villancico in Early Eighteenth-Century Spain: the Repertory of Salamanca Cathedral (1997). He studies Hispanic Philology and Education at the Universidad de Salamanca and currently follows the official degree course in Piano and Music Theory at the conservatories of Salamanca and Madrid.He has worked at the Royal Holloway - University of London (1997-1998) and the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Salamanca (1998-2000). He spent time as a visiting professor at New York University (1999) and Yale University (2009-2010), and was Spain's representative on the Directorium of the International Musicological Society (2007-2017). His prestigious international career has seen him regularly participating in congresses organised by the American Musicological Society, the International Musicological Society and the Biennial Conference of Baroque Music. He also lectures at numerous universities in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Cuba. His research primarily concentrates on vocal genres. Specialising in the study of Italian opera, he published La ópera en España e Hispanoamérica (ICCMU, 2002) with Emilio Casares; directed the complete edition of Francisco Cavalli's operas for Bärenreiter Verlag with Ellen Rosand and Lorenzo Bianconi, and has published several other articles on Italian opera. Furthermore, he collaborates closely with European theatres to recover operas such as La Calisto and Ercole Amante by Cavalli and Orontea by Cesti, which have been used in stage productions at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich), the Royal Opera House (London), the Nederlands Oper (Amsterdam), the Theatre Basel (Basel), the Oper Frankfurt, as well as the Teatro Real in Madrid. He also researches music in Spanish Golden Age theatre, as well as the relationship between poetry and music, reconstructing the lost sound of Baroque dance songs such as the Jácaras, Zarabandas, Seguidillas and Chaconas, which have been performed in numerous countries and recorded on several CDs by Raquel Andueza and La Galanía.As the Director of the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales since 2014, he directs the magazine Cuadernos de Música Iberoamericana, the Música Hispana collection of texts and scores, as well as the Master’s Degree in Cultural Management at the Complutense Universidad of Madrid.