A reexamination of Mercadante

A reexamination of Mercadante’s life and works on the centennial commemoration of his death, in light of recent research on Italian opera from Rossini to Verdi. Among the minor composers of the Rossini and post-Rossini periods, Mercadante is notable for 1) the distinctiveness of his musical style, 2) his considerable contribution to the evolution of the structure and language of opera, anticipating the dramatic ‘sensibilizzazione’ that becamethe dominant element in Verdi’s operas, and 3) the fact that his best operas have survived. Mercadante’s compositional activity reached its high point between 1832-43 in works that are most representative of the composer, namely, I Normanni a Parigi, I briganti, Il giuramento, Elena da Feltre, Il bravo, and Il reggente.