Il finto Arlecchino. Il teatro sintetico-melodrammatico di Gian Francesco Malipiero
Il falso Arlecchino, a small-scale musical comedy written by Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1925, constitutes a paramount opportunity for those intending to understand the reform of musical theatre carried out by the Venetian composer. A ‘synthetic-melodramatic’ opera par excellence, it can be considered a metaphor of the conflict between two different singing models, namely the ‘cantar bene’ (singing properly) and the ‘bel canto’: these are represented by the heroic Arlecchino / Don Ippolito and by the funny suitors of Donna Rosaura, respectively. Malipiero used the narrative artifice of a singing competition and built up an amusing, yet mordant parody of the vices in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century theatre, with a clear-cross reference to the reflections he previously presented in the essay I profeti di Babilonia (1924). The libretto of the comedy is a collage of old Italian poems presenting several interpolations and variations: the composer went back to the Arcadia poets Magalotti and Rolli and to his ‘favourite’ Poliziano to recreate the spirit of original musical theatre.