28503 - Musical Dramaturgy (LM)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing an approach to and a grasp of Musical Dramaturgy in its basic historical and critical principles.
According to the tenets of the discipline, opera is conceived as an intertwined system of verbal text, dramatic action, and music.
In turn, such a system requires a contextualization within the history of Western music as well as within the history of Western theatre and literature.
At the same time, the course aims at training students in the analysis of operatic music, from both a morphological and a theatrical perspective.

Course contents

Così fan tutte: The Art of Disguise

During the lessons students will be trained in the dramaturgical and morphological analysis of Così fan tutte by W.A. Mozart (1790). Particular attention will be paid to the dramatic sources of the opera, in relation to seventeenth and eighteenth century musical and theatrical traditions, in comparison with the other two Da Ponte-Mozart operas, Le nozze di Figaro (1786) and Don Giovanni (1787).


For all student (Music and Theatre):

  • the libretto of Così fan tutte (Vienna 1790) in The Librettos of Mozart's Operas, vol. 5: The Da Ponte Operas, ed. by E. Warburton (New York, Garland, 1992), online in <https://www.loc.gov/resource/musschatz.16741.0/?sp=3>;
  • the libretto is available in a modern edition in Libretti d'opera italiani dal Seicento al Novecento, ed. by G. Gronda and P. Fabbri (Milan, Mondadori, 1997, pp. 885-959).

For Music students:

  • the study score of Mozart's opera, critical edition «Neue Mozart-Ausgabe»: Così fan tutte, ed. by F. Ferguson and W. Rehm (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1991 = n. ed. Bärenreiter TP 314), online in <https://dme.mozarteum.at/DME/nma/nmapub_srch.php?l=2>

For all student (Music and Theatre):

Rudiments of musical dramaturgy:

  • C. Dahlhaus, Drammaturgia dell'opera italiana, Turin, EDT, 2005;
  • L. Bianconi - G. Pagannone, Piccolo glossario di drammaturgia musicale, in Insegnare il
    melodramma. Saperi essenziali, proposte didattiche
    , ed. by G. Pagannone, Lecce-Iseo, Pensa MultiMedia, 2010, pp. 201-263 (<http://box.dar.unibo.it/files/didattica/Glossario-di-Drammaturgia_musicale.pdf>).

Rudiments of Italian metrics and prosody:

  • P. Fabbri, Metro e canto nell'opera italiana, Turin, EDT, 2007.

About Mozart and Le Nozze di Figaro:

  • C. Caruso, "Così fan tutte" o sia La scuola dell'"Orlando furioso", "Il Saggiatore musicale", I, 1994, pp. 361-375.
  • D. Heartz, Three Schools for Lovers, or "Così fan tutte le belle" e Citation, Reference, and Recall in "Così fan tutte", in Mozart's Operas, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990, pp. 217-252.
  • M.H. Schmid, Le opere teatrali di Mozart, Turin, Bollati Boringhieri, 2010 (for all students).
  • S. Kunze, Il teatro di Mozart, Venice, Marsilio, 1990 (in part. for Music students);
  • F. d'Amico, Forma divina. Saggi sull'opera lirica e il balletto, ed. by N. Badolato and L. Bianconi, Florence, Leo S. Olschki, 2012 (chapters on Mozart operas, for all students).

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, workshops and practices on score and libretto. Viewing of audiovisual materials.

Assessment methods

During the exam (oral interview) students will have to demonstrate their knowledge about the bibliography. 

Students in Music are required to know the score of Così fan tutte; they will report on the poetic, narrative, and theatrical structure; on musical morphology; on the relations with literary sources.

Students in Theatre and other degree courses are exempt from the in-depth knowledge of the score; but they will have to know Mozart's opera on the basis of a repeated listening and analysis of the poetic, narrative, and theatrical structure (also in relation to the literary source).

During the interview, rudiments of Italian metrics and versification will be ascertained.

Students who intend to account for only 6 CFU will agree a reduced program with the teacher (<nicola.badolato@unibo.it>.

Teaching tools

Collateral activities will be announced at the beginning of the class.

Didactic materials will be soon available online.

Office hours

See the website of Nicola Badolato