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Hilary Poriss. 2009. Changing the Score: Arias, Prima Donnas, and the Authority of Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cairns, Elliott S.

In Changing the Score, Poriss seeks to trace the practice of aria insertion and its role in performances of bel canto operas during the first half of the nineteenth century, the "pivotal stage ... during which the practice inched slowly toward extinction" (5). It was during this time that singers ofItalian opera had to confront the rise of the "work-concept" as described by Lydia Goehr (1994), either asserting their own authority in performance by attempting to perpetuate the practice of aria insertion, or surrendering their authority to that of the composer's "original" vision. It is this conflict that drives the study, for Poriss uncovers various ways in which singers continued to interpolate and substitute arias despite the resistance they encountered when challenging the regulative power of the work-concept.



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Columbia University
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March 23, 2015