Collateral Effects, by Sonia Arienta

From a mass genre to a niche product

Opera is the most important mass genre in Nineteenth Century Italy, the most interesting cultural event for the inhabitants of the peninsula, also for these of the most remote corners. On the social level it is enjoyed by a heterogeneous audience. In public imagination construction, its role is similar to english and french novels of the same age. It acquires, in short, a first-rate part in the formation of spectators opinions and taste; it reflects the peculiar behaviours of the times and meanwhile influences them.

With the advent of cinema, from the first decades of the Twentieth Century, these privileges ceased, so opera metamorphoses itself from a mass genre to a niche product. In the last twenty years, in particular, attention to melodrama is progressively decreased…
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