Operatic Afterlives

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-02-18
  • Publisher: Zone Books
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In Operatic Afterlives, Michal Grover-Friedlander examines the implications of opera's founding myth-the story of Orpheus and Eurydice: Orpheus's attempt to revive the dead Eurydice with the power of singing. Grover-Friedlander examines instances in which opera portrays an existence beyond death, a revival of the dead, or a simultaneous presence of life and death. These portrayals-in operas by Puccini and other composers and performances by Maria Callas-are made possible, she argues, by the unique treatment of voice in the operas in question: the occurrence of a breach in which singing itself takes on an afterlife in the face of the singer's death. This may arise from the multiplication of singing voices inhabiting the same body, from disembodied singing, from the merging of singing voices, from the disconnection of voice and character. The instances developed in the book take on added significance as they describe a reconfiguration of operatic singing itself. Singing reigns over text, musical language, and dramatic characterization. The notion of the afterlife of singing reveals the singularity of the voice in opera, and how much it differs categorically from any other elaboration of the voice. Grover-Friedlander's examples reflect on the meanings of the operatic voice as well as on our sense of its resonating, unending, and haunting presence. Traditionally, opera kills its protagonists, but Grover-Friedlander argues that opera at times also represents the ways that the voice, singing, or song acquire their own forms of aliveness and indestructibility. Operatic Afterlivesshows the ultimate power that opera grants to singing: the reversal of death.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Introductionp. 13
Death Song
Afterlife: A New Configuration of Singing
Aesthetic Orbit
Inside the Book
Prologue Traces
Giacomo Puccini, Le villi (1884)p. 35
Death, Afterdeath
Dance Detour
Voice Recognition
Returned Singing
The Afterlife of Maria Callas's Voice Franco Zeffirelli, Callas Forever (2002)p. 45
Bygone Voices
Regaining the Lost Voice: First Attempt
Vocal Pairs: An Overwhelmed Body
Regaining the Lost Voice: Second Attempt
Unsightly. Unheardly
The Voice's Afterlife
Sung By Death Giacomo Puccini, Gianni Schicchi (1918)p. 77
Better End
How Comedy Ends
Clues about Life and Death
Dramatic and Musical Continuity
Curious Dating of the Tale in the Libretto
Inaccurate Historical References in the Libretto
Symmetrical Impersonation
Undifferentiating the Living from the Dead
Morphing Music
3-2-1 Schicchi
Interlude Opera Ghosting
Michael Ching, Buoso's Ghost: Comic Sequel in One Act after Puccini's Gianni Schicchi (1996)p. 109
Dybbuk: Between Voice and Song Lodovico Rocca, Il dibuk (1934)p. 115
A Soul Has a Voice
The Divine's Voice
The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds
Duet within Oneself with the Dead about the Unborn
I Am Song
Interlude Voice Replacement Puccini, Gianni Schicchi, Rocca, Il dibukp. 149
Singing and Disappearing Angels Mordecai Seter, Tikkun Hatsot (Midnight Vigil, 1961)p. 151
Silent Singing
Dying Singing
Vertical Echoing
Dying Out of Song: Midnight Vigil
Allowing a Voice to be Heard
Mystic Sounds
Composing A Hearing
Vocal Ideas
Pargod: Celestial Veil
Singing Evanescence
Coming to an End
"Real" Prayer
"Real" Tikkun
"Unreal" Prayer
No Redemption
Our Death
Epilogue Cartoon-Animated Opera The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (Disney, 1946)p. 197
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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