London Opera Observed 17111844

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Handel's Rinaldo, first performed in 1711, helped to establish the popularity of the all-sung, Italian opera amongst eighteenth-century London audiences. This did not meet with universal approval; the strong tradition of spoken drama, coupled with a distrust of a 'foreign' form and language made opera a controversial topic, not least in the newly-expanding press.The rare material in this five-volume reset edition examines opera not simply as a genre of performance, but as a wider topic of comment and debate. The stories that surrounded the Italian opera singers illuminate contemporary British attitudes towards performance, sexuality and national identity. The collection will be of interest to all scholars of the long eighteenth century as well as historians of theatre and performance. It includes a wide range of documents such as biographical material on performers, commentary by London audiences, proposals for aesthetic and managerial reforms, controversial reviews by high-profile critics and introductions to the opera texts themselves.The edition includes substantial editorial commentary, setting the documents in the wider context of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London cultural life. An extensive general introduction is followed by headnotes to each text and explanatory notes throughout. A large bibliography and consolidated index appear in the final volume.

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