This chapter adds an opera stage to our fictional itinerary—Pier Maria Pasinetti's prelude to his 1993 novel, aptly entitled Melodramma. This prelude raises the curtain on a gallery of effervescent historical cross-references and a perfectly orchestrated choral performance. The mobile narrative stretches between the new and the old continent, between Venice and California, “mutually opposed places and vast, mutually opposed distances [that] can generate sparks of energy that pique our ever-expanding curiosity and ever more active imagination.” According to Gore Vidal, Pasinetti's world is no less complex than those of Proust, Joyce, or Mann, although his passions are as different as Venice is from Paris, Dublin, or Lubeck. Oscillating between the large canvases of history and memory, Pasinetti's virtuoso partitura perfectly embodies at least two of the qualities so praised by Calvino, lightness and quickness.
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