[Milton-L] Operatics: The Interdisciplinary Workings of Opera - University of Toronto Quaterly special issue

UTP Journals thawkic551 at rogers.com
Thu Nov 8 08:34:06 EST 2012


Now available …

 

Operatics: The Interdisciplinary Workings of Opera

University of Toronto Quarterly - Volume 81, Number 4, Fall 2012

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/t622704w688v/

 

Editors - Katherine R. Larson, Sherry D. Lee, Caryl Clark, and Linda
Hutcheon

 

In its emphasis on “Operatics,” this special issue takes as its focus the
“workings” of opera: the dynamic relationship between operatic source
text(s), libretto, and musical score, and the technological and
physiological labour that makes possible operatic production and
performance. It also registers opera’s powerful capacity both to rework
particular narratives and historical moments and to work on audience members
through its lavish fusion of music, text, and stage spectacle as well as
increasingly varied modes of reception. The work showcased in this
collection emerged out of the 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons of the
Opera Exchange, an innovative symposium series based at the University of
Toronto and co-organized with the Canadian Opera Company which has been
bringing together leading scholars to elucidate selected operatic texts from
a range of disciplinary perspectives for nearly ten years. Together, the
contributors to this volume help to illuminate, from richly varied
perspectives, the implications of confronting the “operatics”–the inner and
affective workings–of the extravagant, provocative, and fundamentally
interdisciplinary genre that is opera.

 

Articles include:

 

Operatics: The Interdisciplinary Workings of Opera

Katherine R. Larson, Sherry D. Lee, Caryl Clark, and Linda Hutcheon

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/5106596321843175/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/5106596321843175/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=0> &pi=0

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.797

 

Opera as News: Nixon in China and the Contemporary Operatic Subject

William Germano

 

Since the eighteenth century, ‘historical’ operas have puzzled and delighted
audiences. But what counts as ‘history’ in opera? This essay argues that one
answer lies in opera’s complex relation not only to facticity but to
temporality; whereas all operas move forward theatrically within a complex
understanding of time, operas on historical subjects raise that temporal
complexity to a higher pitch. Drawing on the history of opera since the
reforms of the eighteenth century, this essay examines John Adams’s 1987
Nixon in China. That work presents – and mythologizes – one of the most
arresting diplomatic events of the post–World War II era, Richard Nixon’s
1972 Beijing meeting with China’s political leaders. Alice Goodman’s
libretto, at once lyric and formal, and Adams’s propulsive writing together
demonstrate that in opera, history is one clock among many. In doing so,
Nixon in China allows us to rethink the terms on which history becomes
opera’s subject.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/d582888445884233/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/d582888445884233/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=1> &pi=1

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.805

 

The Political Resonance of Nixon in China

Louis W. Pauly

 

Contemporary hopes for China’s peaceful rise, the continuing global
reverberations of the end of the Cold War, and, most importantly for an
opera crafted in a distinctly American musical idiom, profound questions
concerning the systemic power and role of the United States – all help Nixon
in China draw an expanding audience. That the opera has entered the canon is
partly because the complexity of Nixon’s character suggests the insecurity
of global political leadership in our own day. Understanding the context
within which it was first created may be useful, but the opera’s broader
themes resonate more deeply with the human experience in a rapidly changing
world.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/676n521905043563/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/676n521905043563/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=2> &pi=2

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.824

 

Love and Faith in Othello and Otello

Alexander Leggatt

 

Boito’s libretto for Verdi’s Otello is not just an adaptation of
Shakespeare’s Othello but a radical transformation, particularly in its
treatment of love and religion. In the opera, religious language is used to
exalt love. In the play the link is ironic, as Othello’s jealousy becomes a
perverted religion. Boito gives Otello and Desdemona a closer, more
harmonious relationship than Shakespeare does, turning Othello’s public
speech about the birth of their love into a private duet for the lovers.
While Shakespeare’s religious references are mostly scattered and ad hoc,
Boito creates a formal public celebration of Desdemona using Catholic
imagery. Elsewhere Catholic forms are turned to personal ends, in Iago’s
parody of the Credo and Desdemona’s transformation of the Ave Maria. In
general the opera is more personal and intimate than the play.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/e72102k2x3871066/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/e72102k2x3871066/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=3> &pi=3

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.836

 

The Society of Women in the History of Othello from Shakespeare to Verdi

Jill L. Levenson

 

The roles of women change unpredictably as the story of Othello takes shape
between the Renaissance and the late nineteenth century. Following the
variations chronologically, this article concentrates on four key versions
of the narrative in transition, two of them notable works of art: Giraldi
Cinthio’s novella in his Hecatommithi (published 1565); Shakespeare’s
Othello (c.1602–04); François-Victor Hugo’s translation of Shakespeare’s
Othello in his Œuvres complètes de W. Shakespeare (published 1859–65); and
Verdi’s Otello (first performed 1887).

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/76555388106q2601/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/76555388106q2601/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=4> &pi=4

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.850

 

Iphigénie à Paris: Gluck and the philosophes

Nathan Martin

 

Recent studies of Gluck’s opera reform have emphasized the range and breadth
of its sources, as well as the existence of comparable reform movements in
both Parma and Stuttgart. Though a welcome reprieve from earlier writers’
overemphasis on the influence of Rousseau in particular, such revisionist
accounts nonetheless risk marginalizing the philosophes’ contributions
entirely. In so doing, they ignore Gluck’s own careful cultivation of
Rousseau and Diderot. By surveying Gluck’s interactions with these two
figures and their ideas, this article offers an implicit plea for the
reintegration of the philosophes into reform opera’s family tree.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/f621403x65120713/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/f621403x65120713/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=5> &pi=5

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.860

 

The Flying Dutchman, the Wandering Jew, and Wagner’s Anti-Semitism

Stephen McClatchie

 

An historical and cultural examination of the figure of the Wandering Jew
provides a springboard for a reassessment of the impact of Richard Wagner’s
anti-Semitism on his music dramas. In the case of Der fliegende Holländer,
an easy equation of the title character with the anti-Semitic legend of the
Wandering Jew is problematic, given a Wagnerian counter discourse of
self-identification and empathy with the figure. In the end, it is reductive
to reduce any Wagnerian work to a single interpretation.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/877r2663467x7611/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/877r2663467x7611/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=6> &pi=6

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.877

 

Death in Venice and Beyond: Benjamin Britten’s Late Works

Kimberly F. Canton, Amelia DeFalco, Linda Hutcheon, Michael Hutcheon,
Katherine R. Larson, and Helmut Reichenbächer

 

This article analyzes Benjamin Britten’s late works through the lenses of
late style discourse and theories of aging, showing how these final
compositions can be read as a reflection of the ways in which Britten’s
illness and physical disability in the last years of his life prematurely
ushered the composer into ‘old age’ and its attendant physical and
psychological difficulties. From Death in Venice on, Britten’s compositions
display an unmistakable preoccupation with mortality, both in terms of
subject matter and in terms of an even further finessed concision of musical
style. While the stylistic decisions in these last works cannot be divorced
from Britten’s very real sense and eventual acceptance of the nearness of
his own death, neither can they be wholly accounted for by it, marking as
they do an undiminished capacity for creative achievement in the midst of
significantly diminished physical capabilities.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/y237636454710743/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/y237636454710743/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=7> &pi=7

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.893

 

Cinematic Operatics: Barbara Willis Sweete Directs Metropolitan Opera HD
Transmissions

Kay Armatage

 

This paper addresses a new cultural mode, the live high-definition
transmission via satellite of theatre, performance, and opera. It details
the technology and the process of production leading to the live
transmission, examines cinematic and narratological exigencies, and outlines
the contribution of Barbara Willis Sweete, one of the principal directors of
the Metropolitan Opera transmissions, to the development of the form.

http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/qqq805718h826721/?p=131ad10d963449e
0996d2ed93efbc625
<http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/qqq805718h826721/?p=131ad10d963449
e0996d2ed93efbc625&pi=8> &pi=8

DOI: 10.3138/UTQ.81.4.909

 

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