Il plagio vs. «una piacevole reminiscenza al nostro orecchio»: The Siege of Rochelle (1835) di Michael Balfe e il «lavoro culturale» della critica estetica PDF Print Email

Naomi Matsumoto


Plagiarism is not only an aesthetic «sin», offending against originality and the creative responsibilities of artists; it also has moral and cultural dimensions. In social and human terms it offends against both truth and trust, and it provides a weapon for rival factions and those for whom knowledge is power. Most importantly it reaches to the heart of the question about how a culture can have an artistic identity when the representative works must allude to common traditions while remaining unique. This paper explores those issues in relation to a much maligned opera in early nineteenth-century London – Balfe’s The Siege of Rochelle (1835). It places the charges of «borrowing» lodged against it within their historical context, and it exposes the cultural role that plagiarism can play in the search for artistic identity.


Naomi Matsumoto is Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, the University of London. She received her PhD from the University in 2005, after obtaining several diplomas in vocal performance. She has won several awards including the British Federation of Women Graduates National Award, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation British Award, and the JSPS Symposium Award. She works on Italian opera of the 17th and 19th centuries.


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