On 2nd June 1911 Mascagni’s Isabeau premiered in Buenos Aires, asserting itself as the first opera of an international renowned European living composer to debut in South America. The astonishing success of the premiere was carefully prepared by a large-scale press work brought on by Mascagni’s publisher, Renzo Sonzogno, in cooperation with the agent and impresario Walter Mocchi, a former journalist and leader of the socialist party who managed to build a transatlantic theatrical empire using his business acumen and political connections. The production of Isabeau also took on politic value, as it aimed to redefine the balance of theatrical ‘geopolitics’ across the Atlantic: just a few months later than the New York debut of Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (December 1910), the lavish world premiere of Isabeau imposed Argentina as a competitor to Europe and North America. Although Puccini’s masterpiece entered the repertoire and Mascagni’s work didn’t, both new titles competed in the imaginary, and Sonzogno’s media strategy to make of Isabeau a tremendous success represented an interesting intersection among the reasons of market, art and public exposure of the creative process. Mocchi and Sonzogno were perfectly aware of the power of advertisement and propaganda, and succeeded in creating huge expectations on both sides of the Atlantic: pictures of Mascagni composing at the piano were delivered to mainstream magazines in Europe and South America, while excerpts of handwritten music, exclusive interviews and gossipy remarks appeared in the press. To enforce the launch, a unique “event” was also put in place: just before the company had been boarding for Argentina, an exclusive preview of Isabeau was performed in Genoa for a selected audience of critics. The media campaign led to an authentic worship of Mascagni in South America, although once the press exposure faded the opera did not enter the repertoire and was quickly forgotten. The alternate faith of Isabeau allows us to enlighten the evolution of press communication as a strategy to face the crisis of the opera in the early 1900s.

Mascagni’s Media Strategy: The Case of Isabeau in Sonzogno’s Publishing Empire / matteo paoletti. - In: JOURNAL OF MUSIC CRITICISM. - ISSN 2532-9995. - ELETTRONICO. - 5:(2021), pp. 49-65.

Mascagni’s Media Strategy: The Case of Isabeau in Sonzogno’s Publishing Empire

matteo paoletti
2021

Abstract

On 2nd June 1911 Mascagni’s Isabeau premiered in Buenos Aires, asserting itself as the first opera of an international renowned European living composer to debut in South America. The astonishing success of the premiere was carefully prepared by a large-scale press work brought on by Mascagni’s publisher, Renzo Sonzogno, in cooperation with the agent and impresario Walter Mocchi, a former journalist and leader of the socialist party who managed to build a transatlantic theatrical empire using his business acumen and political connections. The production of Isabeau also took on politic value, as it aimed to redefine the balance of theatrical ‘geopolitics’ across the Atlantic: just a few months later than the New York debut of Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (December 1910), the lavish world premiere of Isabeau imposed Argentina as a competitor to Europe and North America. Although Puccini’s masterpiece entered the repertoire and Mascagni’s work didn’t, both new titles competed in the imaginary, and Sonzogno’s media strategy to make of Isabeau a tremendous success represented an interesting intersection among the reasons of market, art and public exposure of the creative process. Mocchi and Sonzogno were perfectly aware of the power of advertisement and propaganda, and succeeded in creating huge expectations on both sides of the Atlantic: pictures of Mascagni composing at the piano were delivered to mainstream magazines in Europe and South America, while excerpts of handwritten music, exclusive interviews and gossipy remarks appeared in the press. To enforce the launch, a unique “event” was also put in place: just before the company had been boarding for Argentina, an exclusive preview of Isabeau was performed in Genoa for a selected audience of critics. The media campaign led to an authentic worship of Mascagni in South America, although once the press exposure faded the opera did not enter the repertoire and was quickly forgotten. The alternate faith of Isabeau allows us to enlighten the evolution of press communication as a strategy to face the crisis of the opera in the early 1900s.
2021
Mascagni’s Media Strategy: The Case of Isabeau in Sonzogno’s Publishing Empire / matteo paoletti. - In: JOURNAL OF MUSIC CRITICISM. - ISSN 2532-9995. - ELETTRONICO. - 5:(2021), pp. 49-65.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/829430
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