Verismo


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Verismo

 

a realistic trend in late 19th-century Italian literature, music, and fine arts that strove to reflect the social and psychological conflicts of the contemporary national historical reality of a unified Italy, which had entered upon the path of capitalist development.

In literature verismo was subject to the contradictory influence of E. Zola’s theory of naturalism, the critical realism of French and Russian literature, and the ideas of the Italian socialist movement. The national originality of verismo lies in its profound sympathy for the oppressed working people, whose life (for the most part, that of peasants and poor people from the provinces) formed the basic content of the novels and short stories of the theoreticians of verismo—G. Verga, L. Capuana, D. Ciampoli, R. Fucini, M. Serao, and others. The verists introduced the language of the common people into literature, making extensive use of dialects; they also created a theater reflecting everyday life (the comedies of G. Rovetta and G. Giacosa); and they introduced a new content into poetry (L. Stecchetti, pseudonym of O. Guerrini, and A. Boito). Nevertheless, the verists failed to see the social potential for eliminating social injustice; hence their works were filled with motifs of doom and an overexaggeration of the role of physiology. The best traditions of verismo have been developed by modern, progressive Italian literature.

In music verismo became famous in operatic works. The social motifs characteristic of the literature of verismo were seldom developed in these operas. For the heroes of their works the composers chose rural folk, poor city dwellers, and representatives of bohemianism, and they concentrated on the drama of these characters’ personal lives, based for the most part on clashes over love affairs. The first examples of veristic opera were P. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (produced 1890) and R. Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (produced 1892). More important achievements in operatic verismo were reached in the creative work of G. Puccini (for example, Manon Lescaut, produced 1893; La Bohème, produced 1896; Tosca, produced 1900; Madama Butterfly, produced 1904; and The Girl of the Golden West, produced 1910). The success of these veristic works was due to their theatrical effectiveness and melodically expressive music, which underscored the emotionality. Nevertheless, naturalistic tendencies, a melodramatic approach, a superficial, illusory quality, overexaggerated expression, and a predilection for monotonous melodization of the recitatives detracted from the fullness of the characterizations. Tendencies related to verismo existed in France (operas by A. Bruno and G. Charpentier’s Louise), Germany (E. d’Albert’s opera Tiefland) and other countries.

In the fine arts verismo was characterized by an interest in the lives of peasants and workers and significant sociocritical tendencies, but also by a pessimistic, at times passively naturalistic, acceptance of reality (the painters F. P. Michetti and G. Pellizza da Volpedo and the sculptors V. Vela and V. Gemito, for example).

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Ital’ianskie novelly: 1869-1914. [Foreword by B. G. Reizov.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.

REFERENCES

Gramsci, A. Letteratura e vita nazionale. Turin, 1950.
Marzot, G. “Il verismo.” In Questioni e correnti di storia letteraria. Milan, 1949.
Salinari, C. Storia popolare della letteratura italiana, vol. 3. Rome, 1962.
Rinaldi, M. Musica e verismo. Rome, 1932.
De Logu, G. Pittura italiana dell’ottocento. Bergamo [1955].
References in periodicals archive ?
C'e, anche, la tradizione del verismo italiano che Neera conosce bene, e di cui discetta a lungo, via epistola, con l'amico Capuana.
Per questo motivo e necessario segnalare a chiunque si accinga a studiare la narrativa italiana del periodo postunitario il volume di Pierluigi Pellini, fine conoscitore della letteratura francese dell'Ottocento, oltre che del verismo nostrano.
It's a performance that cannot possibly have been directed, and its ambiguous verismo is truly disturbing.
Although Cranko's treatment of the complex romantic subject is somewhat simplistic, as is his understanding of Russian society (telling more of received wisdom than illuminating insight), the melodramatic action pours forth confidently and gives the right dancers opportunities for verismo performances.
Neorealism is similar in general aims to the earlier Italian movement verismo ("realism"), from which it originated, but it differs in that its upsurge was brought about by the intense feelings that fascist repression, the Resistance, and the war instilled in its many gifted writers.
In the second cast, 19-year-old McGill student Aaron Sheppard showed a precocious talent, singing well consistently This is hardly verismo opera, so a somewhat stiff stage presence in scenes where he is the callous lover and then Rusalka's supplicant hardly mattered, but he's still too young to make a believable autocrat.
Although Ms Gheorghiu's best-known roles are in the verismo operas of the 19th and early 20th centuries, she began with two earlier pieces by Giordano and Handel which were beautifully and simply delivered.
Con claros ascendentes esteticos, lo cierto es que Puccini no pertenecio a circulo musical alguno y ni siquiera fue una figura representativa del llamado verismo, de la escuela de la "vida como ella es realmente", que rozo en algunas de sus obras y tanto atrajo a los compositores italianos de la decada de 1890 con quienes (Mascagni y Leocavallo, sobre todo) tuvo algun contacto generacional.
Il dialogo e stringato ed incalzante, ed il dmmma si realizza in una forza espressionista che supera di gran lunga il Verismo descrittivo dell'introduzione.
Good effects and use of real locations, plus a typically intense perf from Choi, increase the movie's verismo feel, exalted by Lee Dong-jun's chorale-like score.