Arts Building, Riverside, CA 92507 #florencebayzseries
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UC Riverside Department of Music presents:

Francesco Milella (University College Dublin), “Italian Opera and the End of the Spanish Empire: Sounding Modernities in Mexico City between 1780 and 1830.”

Modern historiography situates the rise of the modern world in the years between 1770 and 1830: the global spread of the Enlightenment, the Atlantic revolutions of the United States of America, France and Haiti as well as the dissemination of what Christopher A. Bayly defined as ‘global uniformities’, that is habits and fashions, from Europe to the world, contributed significantly to unite entire continents under a similar idea of modernity. Italian opera played a significant role in this process: being one of the most successful forms of entertainment in Enlightened Europe, it soon travelled across the Atlantic ocean first as a tangible byword of modernity and a laboratory for social interaction and cultural exchange between European and non-European societies.

As one of the main colonies of the Spanish empire, Mexico became a critical arena for the reception and production of Italian opera outside Europe. Even though it relied on a solid urban structure able to accommodate cultural products coming from Europe, its cultural frameworks, largely influenced by Madrid and its culture, turned this encounter into an unsettling process which continued even the crisis of the Spanish empire. From the early arrival of Cimarosa’s and Paisiello’s operas in the late 1790s until the problematic debut of Manuel García with Rossini in the late 1820s, the operatic stage acted not only as a conveyor of new values and habits but also as powerful mirror on which Mexican elites processed their difference from the rest of the Western world and projected their yearning for modernity and desire to be part of a larger cosmopolitan discourse.

Francesco Milella is a IRC Postdoctoral fellow at the University College Dublin, working on a project on the impact of the Atlantic circulation of Italian opera in the crisis of the Spanish empire between 1770 and 1820.


part of the

2023-2024 Florence Bayz Music Series

The Florence Bayz Music Series offers online concerts, lectures, and presentations of academic research by Department of Music faculty, postdoctoral researchers, students, and international guest artists and scholars.

Deborah Wong, coordinator.

Events during the 2023-2024 academic year will be held in person at ARTS 157 on Wednesdays at 12 noon. Location may be subject to change.


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Event Details

  • Malinn Loeung
  • Christopher Ochoa
  • Alexis Ramirez
  • Jocelyn Diego

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