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A document with musical excerpts accompanies this paper and is available for download below.

Abstract

Giuseppe Verdi's 1853 opera Il trovatore has long stood as one of the most popular dramas of the nineteenth century due to its compositional craftsmanship and remarkable, quintessentially Romantic storyline. Leading research thus far on Il trovatore has largely focused on the overall structure, pacing, harmonic language, and individual characters of the opera. This paper takes such research farther via the means of both textual and musical analysis in order to demonstrate the complexity of the characters' relationships and to discern an underlying moral philosophy present in the opera. More specifically, it shows that Verdi's opera draws an inverse relationship between the leading men's senses of honor and their ability to express authority over their situation. To draw such a connection, Verdi ascribes multiple, distinct roles for each character, and it is the interplay between each role within and between characters that ultimately defines the tinta of the entire work.

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