Defining Italian American Identity in the United States through Opera during the Mass Migration Period

Davide Ceriani
Rowan University

This presentation focuses on the role Italian opera had in forming an Italian American cultural and ethnic identity during the mass migration period (1880–1924). Italians who immigrated to the United States adopted various methods to both elevate themselves in society and challenge the cultural hegemony around them; associating Little Italies with Italian opera proved to be a successful strategy to reach those goals because it was both an emblem of Italian culture and one of the most important forms of entertainment for Americans. Davide Ceriani’s interdisciplinary, multilingual research aims to fill a significant gap in the field of Italian American studies.