Opera was a prominent political forum and a potent force for nineteenth-century nationalism. As one of the most popular forms of entertainment, opera could mobilize large crowds and became the locus of ideological debates about nation-building. Despite its crucial role in national movements, opera has received little attention in the context of nationalism. In Staging the Nation: Opera and Nationalism in 19th-Century Hungary, Krisztina Lajosi examines the development of Hungarian national thought by exploring the theatrical and operatic practices that have shaped historical consciousness. Lajosi combines cultural history, political thought, and the history of music theater, and highlights the role of the opera composer Ferenc Erkel (1810-1893) in institutionalizing national opera and turning opera-loving audiences into a national public.
Krisztina Lajosi, Ph.D. (2008), is Assistant Professor in European Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam. She has published extensively on cultural nationalism, and is currently working on a historical study of transnational adventurers and a project on political feelings and digital media.
Introduction: Opera and National Consciousness
1 National Opera as a Political Force
2 The Struggle for a National Theater
3 Taking the Stage: Opera in the Hungarian Theater
4 Hunyadi László
5 Bánk Bán
Conclusion: The Opera Chorus and the Voice of the People
Opera was in effect the social medium of its time; this book will interest students and scholars of cultural history and nationalism as well as a more general readership.