Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

This book is much concerned with opera’s modes for representing absence and presence, distance and immediacy, and those oppositions are also central to the book’s genesis and to the many intellectual and personal debts I have incurred while writing it. ...

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1. In Praise of Overstatement

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pp. 1-31

This speech in praise of music’s ability to enliven and control the pace of dramatic performance emerges from a surprising context—not the world of early nineteenth-century melodrama, in which stage action was liberally, almost compulsively, accompanied by music, nor the infatuation with fusions and hybrids among the arts of a few decades later. ...

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2. Wagner’s Cancan, Fenella’s Leap: La Muette de Portici and Auber’s Reality Effect

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pp. 32-68

I begin with an encounter between two of the principal characters in this study, one fictional, the other real. Human, all too human is Richard Wagner, whose diatribes against French grand opéra are as well known as the professional ambition and envy that contributed so much to their tone. ...

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3. Bellini’s Unseen Voices

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pp. 69-100

Fenella’s pantomimes, for all their idiosyncratic fragmented discourse and repetition, remind us that nineteenth-century opera possesses a sizable repertory of musical devices for representing the performing and emoting body. Precisely where Woolf finds inadequacy in language, opera can be most eloquent, ...

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4. “Every Word Made Flesh”: Les Huguenots and the Incarnation of the Invisible

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pp. 101-131

If the erupting volcano in the final scene of La Muette de Portici copied nature (or at least existing Italian stage designs) with a kind of detail that recalled Roland Barthes’s “reality effect,” the tendency for spectacular visual effects to drown out all other elements of the drama only strengthened as the genre of grand opéra matured. ...

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5. Uneasy Bodies: Verdi and Sublimation

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pp. 132-162

We should not leave Meyerbeer without noting that the self-conscious innovation and critical stance toward melodramatic conventions seen in Les Huguenots is hardly representative of the composer’s grand-opéra style as a whole. His previous Parisian success, Robert le diable (1831), betrays no suspicion of the melodramatic aesthetic ...

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6. Mimomania: Allegory and Embodiment in Wagner’s Music Dramas

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pp. 163-204

In David Lodge’s “academic romance” Small World, the young Irish lecturer Persse McGarrigle clinches his standing in the academic world by claiming to have written a master’s thesis about T. S. Eliot’s influence on Shakespeare, reversing the causality of the topic he actually researched in a desperate attempt to attract attention at a conference. ...

Notes

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pp. 205-240

Index

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pp. 241-247

Production Notes

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pp. 259-259