Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Giovanni Verga’s Cavalleria rusticana has inspired a variety of musical works, among them Giuseppe Perrotta’s “Bozzetto sinfonico” (an overture to Verga’s play), and Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (a one-act opera based on a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci). Each composition represents a genre on which scholarship is scarce: late nineteenth-century incidental music and the late nineteenth-century operatic prelude. Considering both Perrotta’s “Bozzetto sinfonico” and Mascagni’s “Preludio” as musical introductions to stage works, this study undertakes a complete hermeneutic analysis of both works (chapters 2 and 3). The analysis of Perrotta’s “Bozzetto sinfonico” is guided by a letter in which Verga commissions the overture and outlines the desired program, the analysis of Mascagni’s “Preludio” by the text underlying the thematic recurrences in the opera proper. By way of a conclusion, a comparison of the two works and an assessment of their historical and generic context will round out the monograph (chapter 4).

The analyses show that both works consist of two parts and anticipate the drama of the subsequent play and opera, respectively. The “Bozzetto sinfonico” is programmatic throughout, with the first part depicting events predating the play and the second part the events during the play, in both parts through constant development of a few themes. The “Preludio,” less symphonically conceived, is programmatic only in the first half, depicting the events of the play more loosely than does the “Bozzetto sinfonico”; in the second part, it serves a largely musical function, providing the conclusion to an original formal conception.



Committee Chair

Giger, Andreas



Included in

Musicology Commons