Curtain, Gong, Steam (Hardcover)

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Item: 9780520279681

Description

Curtain, Gong, Steam: Wagnerian Technologies of Nineteenth-Century Opera (Hardcover)

In this innovative book, Gundula Kreuzer argues for the foundational role of technologies in the conception, production, and study of nineteenth-century opera. She shows how composers increasingly incorporated novel audiovisual effects in their works and how the uses and meanings of the required apparatuses changed through the twentieth century, sometimes still resonating in stagings, performance art, and popular culture today.

Focusing on devices (which she dubs “Wagnerian technologies”) intended to amalgamate opera’s various media while veiling their mechanics, Kreuzer offers a practical counternarrative to Wagner’s idealist theories of total illusionism. At the same time, Curtain, Gong, Steam’s multifaceted exploration of the three titular technologies repositions Wagner as catalyst more than inventor in the history of operatic production.

With its broad chronological and geographical scope, this book deepens our understanding of the material and mechanical conditions of historical operatic practice as well as of individual works, both well known and obscure.

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (May 18, 2018)
  • Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches


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History

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Conceived and written over a period of more than 25 years, Wagner’s Ring cycle is an epic musical journey of four operas: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Its story of gods, dwarves, and men and the quest for an all-powerful ring was inspired by many sources, including 13th-century Icelandic writings and the medieval German Nibelungenlied. The complete cycle was first seen at the inaugural Bayreuth Festival in 1876. The Met’s landmark production, directed by Robert Lepage, premiered over the course of the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. The DVD release of its Live in HD presentation won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

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