Selected Essays on Opera by Ulrich Weisstein

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Editor: Walter Bernhart
Ulrich Weisstein, an international authority in the fields of comparative literature and comparative arts, has been a pioneer paving the way for present-day intermedia studies. Among his broad intermedial interests opera has always held a central place. For the first time this volume makes available his major contributions to opera criticism in compact form, thus meeting a serious scholarly demand.
The necessarily stringent selection of essays from Professor Weisstein’s large output on opera, reflecting fifty years of involvement with the genre, is primarily governed by the wish to present texts that are representative of their author’s work and, at the same time, are unlikely to be readily available through other channels. The fourteen essays collected are arranged in chronological order, some of them showing Ulrich Weisstein as an initiator of librettology, others tracing adaptive processes extending from textual sources to final operas, or investigating writer/composer collaborations. Further topics are satirical reflections on operatic activities in early-eighteenth-century Italy and practices of opera censorship, artist operas or definitions of romantic and epic opera. The essays are written in an accessible, essentially non-technical language and are expected to make both a profitable and a pleasurable reading for literary scholars as well as musicologists and general art lovers.

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Biographical Note

Ulrich Weisstein is Professor Emeritus of Indiana University, USA, where he taught German, English and Comparative Literature. His list of publications has nearly reached 400 entries, including fourteen book publications, among them his seminal Einführung in die vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft (1968), which was translated into English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic.
Walter Bernhart is Professor of English Literature at the University of Graz. His numerous publications include ‘True Versifying’: Studien zur elisabethanischen Verspraxis und Kunstideologie (1993); “Überlegungen zur Lyriktheorie aus erzähltheoretischer Sicht” (1993); “Iconicity and Beyond in ‘Lullaby for Jumbo’: Semiotic Functions of Poetic Rhythm” (1999); “Lied som intermedial konstform” (2002); “The ‘Destructiveness of Music’: Functional Intermedia Disharmony in Popular Songs” (2002); “Narrative Framing in Schumann’s Piano Pieces” (2005). He is executive editor of two book series, Word and Music Studies (WMS) and Studies in Intermediality (SIM), both published by Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York.

Table of contents

Preface Selected Essays on Opera by Ulrich Weisstein The Libretto as Literature (1961) Cocteau, Stravinsky, Brecht, and the Birth of Epic Opera (1962) Introduction to The Essence of Opera (1964) Reflections on a Golden Style: W.H. Auden’s Theory of Opera (1970) “Per porle in lista”: Da Ponte/Leporello’s Amorous Inventory and its Literary and Operatic Antecedents from Tirso de Molina to Giovanni Bertati (1981) Educating Siegfried (1984) (Pariser) Farce oder wienerische Maskerade? Die französischen Quellen des Rosenkavalier (1987) The Little Word und: Tristan und Isolde as Verbal Construct (1987) Benedetto Marcellos Il Teatro alla moda: Scherz, Satire, Parodie oder tiefere Bedeutung? (1989) Von Ballhorn ins Bockshorn gejagt: Unwillkürliche Parodie und unfreiwillige Komik im Ambroise Thomas’ Mignon (1989) “Die letzte Häutung”. Two German Künstleropern of the Twentieth Century: Hans Pfitzner’s Palestrina and Paul Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler (1992) Between Progress and Regression: The Text of Stravinsky’s Opera The Rake’s Progress in the Light of its Evolution (1992) What is Romantic Opera? Toward a Musico-Literary Definition (1994) Böse Menschen singen keine Arien: Prolegomena zu einer ungeschriebenen Geschichte der Opernzensur (1996) Sources Acknowledgments Index of Persons and Operas Mentioned in the Text

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