Opera meets new media


Puccini, Ricordi and the rise of the modern entertainment industry

The exhibition, realised on the occasion of the centenary of Giacomo Puccini’s death, proposes, through an examination of the maestro’s international career, a reflection on the influence that new media and technological innovations had on musical theatre at the beginning of the 20th century. In reality, it was an epochal transition, a true revolution for the enjoyment of music that until then could only be enjoyed live.

Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, in fact, two technological revolutions, sound recordings and the moving image, which had previously been considered only ‘curious novelties’ (in the same years in which Puccini’s career was beginning), suddenly expanded to impose themselves as real entertainment industries, the discography and the cinema, risking to become a commercial threat to the traditional business models of music publishers such as Ricordi, whose revenues from rights and royalties depended mainly on live performances in theatres. How music publishers would react and adapt to these innovations in those early years was a crucial determining factor for their commercial success. The challenges that publishers faced in that fin-de-siècle were strikingly similar to the new technology issues that music producers would face at the beginning of the 20th and 21st century, offering a fascinating perspective for our time.

Exhibition promoted by Archivio Storico Ricordi and Bertelsmann
Berlino 18.4 – 16.5 2024

Further details in the EXHIBITION WEBSITE


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