This volume takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying a wide range of subjects associated with the creation, performance and reception of 'opera' in varying social and historical contexts from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Each essay addresses migrations between genres, cultures, literary and musical works, modes of expression, media of presentation and aesthetics. Although the directions the contributions take are diverse, they converge in significant ways, particularly with the rebuttal of the notion of the singular nature of the operatic work. The volume strongly asserts that works are meaningfully transformed by the manifold circumstances of their creation and reception, and that these circumstances have an impact on the life of those works in their many transformations and on a given audience's experience of them.
Topics covered include transformations of literary sources and their migration into the operatic genre; works that move across geographical and social boundaries into different cultural contexts; movements between media and/or genre as well as alterations through interpretation and performance of the composer's creation; the translation of spoken theatre to lyric theatre; the theoretical issues contingent on the rendering of 'speech' into 'song'; and the transforming effects of aesthetic considerations as they bear on opera.
Crossing over disciplinary boundaries between music, literary studies, history, cultural studies and art history, the volume enriches our knowledge and understanding of the operatic experience and the works. The book will therefore appeal to those working in the field of music, literary and cultural studies, and to those with a particular interest in opera and musical theatre.
Contents: Introduction: Migrations and transformations, Roberta Montemorra Marvin; Venice: cradle of (operatic) convention, Ellen Rosand; 'Je vous répondrez au troisième couplet': 18th-century opéra comique and the demands of speech, Downing A. Thomas; From the Comédie-Française to the Opéra: Figaro at the crossroads, Tili Boon Cuillé; Ideological noises: opera criticism in early 18th-century France, Charles Dill; Transformations on stage only: Anfossi's Circe in Weimar, Waltraud Maierhofer; Roman republicanism and operatic heroines in Napoleonic Italy: Tarchi's La congiura pisoniana and Cimarosa's Gli Orazi e i Curiazi, Robert C. Ketterer; Ghostly voices: 'Gothic Opera' and the failure of Gounod's La Nonne sanglante, Anne Williams; Mozart productions and the emergence of Werktreue at London's Italian Opera House, 1780–1830, Rachel Cowgill; The mirror of art and scenes of recognition: Wagner and Mann, Grace Kehler; Burlesques, barriers, borders, and boundaries, Roberta Montemorra Marvin; Local color: the representation of race in Carmen and Carmen Jones, Robert L.A. Clark; Operatic school for scandal, David J. Levin; Why (what? How? If?) opera studies?, Herbert Lindenberger; Epilog, Downing A. Thomas; Index.
About the Editor: Roberta Montemorra Marvin and Downing A. Thomas are both on the faculty of The University of Iowa, USA
Reviews: Shortlisted for the AMS Ruth Solie Award 2007
'... fresh, intriguing and insightful... the subject matter is wide-ranging, the approach invariably stimulating. This book will fascinate anyone interested in what makes opera tick.' Classical Music
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