Among the Turkish lyrics of Giuseppe Donizetti there are texts of singular modernity that exalt the Christians and Muslims’ brotherhood and accurately manifest the Tanzimat ideological value. Donizetti and other Italian composers took part in a metissage project also involving the Levantine community but above all the Constantinopolitan Armenians who managed the theatres and edited noteworthy translations of dramma per musica. The Italian composers, moreover, in writing Ottoman lyrics with Latin letters, apparently only to simplify the singer’s reading, actually paved the way to the literacy process of modern Turkey. This essay aims to re-evaluate Italian opera’s role in the Westernist aspiration context of 19th century Turkey.
Constantinople. Tanzimat. Italian Opera. Multi-confessionalism. Armenian-Turkish.