Aesthetic Technologies of Modernity, Subjectivity, and Nature
Opera, Orchestra, Phonograph, Film
Publication Year: 2015
Published by: University of California Press
Half Title, Title Page, Copyright
List of Illustrations
List of Musical Examples
I wish to express deepest gratitude to the several colleagues and friends who read various chapters and offered insights, corrections, and encouragement during the long gestation of this project: Hisham Bizri, James Currie, Daniel Goldmark, Helen Greenwald, Berthold Hoeckner, Lawrence Kramer, Charles Kronengold, Sherry Lee, Alice Lovejoy, David M. Lubin, Susan McClary, Jeannie Poole, and Gary Thomas. ...
This is a book about music, opera especially, the phonograph, and cinema centered on questions concerning modernity, subjectivity, and nature emerging in the years immediately preceding 1910 and following in the next decade or so thereafter. The cultural practices of my concern either date from those years (three chapters) or are constituted by late-twentieth-century looking back at that time period. ...
Part I. Modernity and Opera; Nature and Redemption
1. The Civilizing Process: Music and the Aesthetics of Time-Space Relations in The Girl of the Golden West
In 1907 Puccini made the first of two visits to New York, to supervise the first performances of Manon Lescaut and Madame Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera. He was also in search of a subject for his next project. Accordingly, while in the city, and despite his very limited English, he attended numerous plays, including three by David Belasco, whose Madame Butterfly he had seen staged in London in 1900. ...
2. Opera, Aesthetic Violence, and the Imposition of Modernity: Fitzcarraldo
Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (1982), set in the Peruvian Amazon sometime near the turn of the last century, tells the story of an Irishman of uncertain class standing, a passionate lover of opera who wants to build an opera house in the frontier town of Iquitos—a theater to rival the opera house in Manaus, the product of European rubber-baron largesse.1 ...
Part II. Voicing Subjectivity
Excursus: Opera, Monumentality, and Looking at Looking
By the seventeenth century, theaters for staging operas enjoyed considerable social status among a larger host of architectural statements of agency and prestige, whether on behalf of a court or, as time went by, a public (part actual, part imagined). By the nineteenth century major urban centers throughout Europe and the Americas had put up opera houses on grand scale befitting the cultural, ideological, ...
3. Caruso, Phonography, and Operatic Fidelities: Regimes of Musical Listening, 1904–1929
In what follows, I hope to suggest some epistemological repercussions—social, cultural, and musical—that accompanied the technological advent of phonography, hence the move from live performance experienced in theatrical settings, particularly as regards opera, to the quasi-privatized listening made possible by the domestic gramophone. ...
4. Aesthetic Meanderings of the Sonic Psyche: Three Operas, Two Notes, and One Ending at the Boundary of the Great Divide
It’s fair to say that subjectivity needed opera; it’s a good deal more certain that opera needed subjectivity—or, better, the anxieties associated with subjectivity—for opera to have taken on the cultural force it enjoyed, particularly by the time history puts Wagner into the equation. ...
Part III. Modernity, Nature, and Dystopia
Excursus: Natural Beauty / Art Beauty
In common parlance we locate nature beyond history; yet the concept of nature, culturally constructed, is necessarily historical.1 Accordingly, as a concept, nature is located within the parameters of the very thing to which it stands in opposition: nature, in a dyadic relationship with culture, represents itself as a problem. ...
5. Sound, Subjectivity, and Death: Days of Heaven (promesse du bonheur)
PLOT. Days of Heaven (1978). The story is set initially in Chicago and thereafter in the Texas Panhandle in 1916–17. The film is narrated in voiceover by Linda (Linda Manz), a girl of about twelve years of age, whose older brother, Bill (Richard Gere), is the lover of Abby (Brooke Adams). They are destitute. Bill works in a foundry; Abby salvages detritus from garbage heaps; Linda makes paper flowers. ...
Conclusion: Acoustic Invocations of Crisis and Hope
For many years Theodor Adorno kept notes of his dreams, writing down his recollections in each case shortly after waking. There was method to this labor to the extent that, as he put it, “our dreams are linked with each other not just because they are ‘ours,’ but because they form a continuum, they belong to a unified world.”1 ...
Appendix: Chapter 5 Tables
Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2015
OCLC Number: 960977351
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