Verismo

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verismo (It.). Realism. Term applied to ‘realistic’ sch. of It. opera in which (following Zola in literature) subjects treated were usually contemporary and often sordid or down-to-earth, e.g. Cavalleria rusticana, Fedora, Il tabarro, etc. But, like all such terms, it is imprecise and has acquired a slight pejorative tinge. Also, some verismo operas are not truly verismo, and where does one draw the line—is La traviata not verismo? But the opera-lover understands the Mascagni type of work by this term. Composers in other countries also wrote verismo operas, e.g. La Navarraise (1894) and Jenůfa (1904). And what about Peter Grimes (1945)?

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ve·ris·mo / vəˈrizmō; ve-/ • n. realism in the arts, esp. late 19th-century Italian opera. ∎  this genre of opera, as composed principally by Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncavallo.

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