Cover

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Half-title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, In Memoriam

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

We would like to begin by thanking the contributors to this volume for their patience and good humor through all those proposals, drafts, revisions, further revisions, and editing deadlines. Their understanding and professionalism lightened our labors and reminded us of how fortunate we are to have such generous colleagues. ...

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Introduction

Richard Begam, Matthew Wilson Smith

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pp. 1-26

In opera, one always dies of the thing one loves. To love less than the impossible, less than that for which one cannot live, is not to love at all: the eternal return of this Liebestod is opera’s Orphic mystery. Which is simply to say what every opera lover already knows—that opera is forever dying in hopes of being reborn, transformed. ...

I: World War I and Before: Crises of Gender and Theatricality

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1. Laughing at the Redeemer: Kundry and the Paradox of Parsifal

Matthew Wilson Smith

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pp. 29-62

“I have big hips, and Covent Garden has a problem with them.”1 Thus Deborah Voigt, after receiving word of Covent Garden’s decision to break her contract to perform the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos in March 2004. Director Christof Loy intended to update the Strauss opera in a manner that emphasized sleek forms and placed the protagonist in a little black dress, ...

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2. Maeterlinck, Debussy, and Modernism

Daniel Albright

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pp. 63-100

Pelléas and Mélisande talk intently about the fountain that no longer restores the sight of the blind. He notes that Mélisande’s hair is so long that it has fallen into the water; he warns her not to keep tossing her wedding ring high in the air, because it might fall into the water. But Mélisande cries “Oh!” ...

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3. Echoes of the Self: Cosmic Loneliness in Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Klára Móricz

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pp. 101-126

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Béla Bartók’s only opera, ends on an irreversibly dark note. Bluebeard’s bride Judith slowly disappears behind the seventh door of his castle to join Bluebeard’s previous wives, whom he married, in the libretto’s symbolist wording, in the “morning, noon, and evening” of his life in an effort to break free of loneliness. ...

II: Interwar Modernism: Movement and Countermovement

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4. The Great War and Its Aftermath: Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s “Third-Way Modernism”

Bryan Gilliam

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pp. 129-147

In the 1960s, the classic approach to teaching twentieth-century music was drawn along the lines of two modernisms, one German and one French. The German model centered on Schoenberg and was rooted in Wagner and Brahms, while the French model centered on Stravinsky and was rooted in Debussy. ...

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5. Adorno’s Shifting Wozzeck

Bernadette Meyler

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pp. 148-185

Although Alban Berg’s 1924 opera Wozzeck furnished the first full-length atonal work of its kind and was publicly received as a radical departure from extant operatic tradition, several features of its composition seem to controvert its claim to an uncompromising modernism. Rather than searching out the newest of dramatic works to set to music, Berg resorted for his source material to Georg Büchner’s early nineteenth-century play Woyzeck. ...

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6. Many Modernisms, Two Makropulos Cases: Čapek, Janáček, and the Shifting Avant-Gardes of Interwar Prague

Derek Katz

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pp. 186-205

Leoš Janáček’s 1926 opera The Makropulos Case (Več Makropulos), based on Karel Čapek’s 1922 play of the same title, constitutes a de facto collaboration between the most renowned composer and most celebrated playwright of the Czech First Republic. Although the two men did not actually work together—Čapek, in fact, took a rather dim view of the play’s prospects as an opera— ...

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7. Schoenberg, Modernism, and Degeneracy

Richard Begam

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pp. 206-243

Between 1927 and 1932, Arnold Schoenberg composed what is arguably modernism’s most revolutionary opera, Moses und Aron. The music—Schoenberg’s longest twelve-tone composition—is startlingly original, filled with auditory effects that have no precedent and little afterlife. The voice of God, as ventriloquized through the Burning Bush, floats and flutters, a kind of acoustic impalpability, ...

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8. Gertrude Stein, Minimalism, and Modern Opera

Cyrena N. Pondrom

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pp. 244-268

Unlike her avant-garde literary colleague Ezra Pound, who tried his hand at opera, Gertrude Stein wasn’t particularly musical and (again unlike Pound) she made no pronouncements on music theory. Yet she undoubtedly has made the far larger impact on modern opera. It is well known that she profoundly influenced Virgil Thomson ...

III: Opera after World War II: Tensions of Institutional Modernism

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9. Stravinsky, Auden, and the Midcentury Modernism of The Rake’s Progress

Herbert Lindenberger

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pp. 271-289

Interviewed on a BBC television documentary about his librettist W. H. Auden fourteen years after The Rake’s Progress was first performed (1951), Igor Stravinsky looked back at their joint project with the following words: “As soon as we began to work together I discovered that we shared the same views not only about opera, but also on the nature of the Beautiful and the Good. ...

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10. Gloriana and the New Elizabethan Age

Irene Morra

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pp. 290-314

In 1952, the satirist Sagittarius (Olga Katzin) drew attention to the dominant (and much-publicized) expectations around Benjamin Britten’s forthcoming coronation opera. Not only would Gloriana celebrate the new queen, but it would offer a cultural manifestation of a new Elizabethan age. This moment, supported by a glittering court, was to be characterized by individual genius and the proud patronage of a state-funded Arts Council.1 ...

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11. One Saint in Eight Tableaux: The Untimely Modernism of Olivier Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise

Linda Hutcheon, Michael Hutcheon

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pp. 315-340

On November 28, 1983, the Palais Garnier in Paris was the site of the world premiere of Saint François d’Assise, the first (and only) opera by the seventy-five-year-old French composer, Olivier Messiaen (1908–92). To the consternation of many in the audience, perhaps unaccustomed to more than four hours of idiosyncratic contemporary music, ...

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12. Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin: Modernist Opera in the Twenty-First Century

Joy H. Calico

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pp. 341-360

Kaija Saariaho’s first opera, L’amour de loin (2000), is one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful new operas of the twenty-first century. Its Salzburg premiere was well received, as were stagings of the same production in Paris (2001), Santa Fe (2002), and Helsinki (2004). The true test for any new opera is the number of subsequent interpretations it receives, however, and by that measure L’amour de loin has far exceeded reasonable expectations. ...

Contributors

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pp. 361-364

Index

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pp. 365-378