Essence of Victorian Opera: The Unheroic and the Heroic Middle-Class Tastes and Mores

Author: Smith, Arnold Ian
Year:2014
Pages:416
ISBN:0-7734-4301-0
978-0-7734-4301-3
Price:299.95
The work focuses on what led to the establishment of the unheroic in Victorian opera. It focuses sharply on two instrumental factors that gave rise to the unheroic; middleclassness and Victorian ideas on the morality and immorality of music.
An interdisciplinary examination of the literary, musical, and sociological aspects of the works written for the Victorian lyric stage. It presents a vivid picture of the 19th century English lyric stage and provides a framework for this study by examining some of the 17th and 18th century forerunners of the Victorian operatic repertoire.

Reviews

“…the present study makes a giant contribution not only by reminding today’s readers about a repertory that has perennially slipped from view but also by raising the level of critical discourse about it. Smith writes with a keen sense of Victorian values – for instance, self-restraint, the sanctity of marriage, and upward mobility – and successfully meets the challenge of showing the relevance of ambient ideologies to librettos as well as to the music.”
-Steven Huebner,
Professor Musicology McGill University


“This work is an impressive and thoroughgoing work of scholarly research, and it is an enjoyable read. It is a clear-eyed and sometimes gently amused (and amusing) view of Victorian opera and its uneasy relationship with the essential features of heroic opera…”
-Murry Napier
McGill University


“The book is a thoroughly researched, multi-disciplinary look at the influence of Victorian “Utilitarian-Evangelicanism” on the musical and literary creations of the time…This book is highly recommended as a good read, and for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of a rather neglected repertoire.”
-Victoria Key Palmer
Trinity College of London, England


Table of Contents

Foreword
Dedication
Acknowledgements
Abstract
Table of Contents
PART I
VICTORIAN MIDDLECLASSNESS AND THE BACK-GROUND (I) TO THE UNHEROIC
Chapter
1. Middleclassness,br> 2. Background (I) to the Unheroic: Bourgeois Ideas on the, Morality and Immorality of Music
PART II
UNHEROIC CHARACTERS IN TYPICAL VICTORIAN OPERAS
3. Light Opera: The “English Ring”
4. Romantic Opera: The Scott Operas
PART III
ECLECTICISM IN TYPICAL VICTORIAN OPERAS 5. Background (I) to the Unheroic: the Eclectic Tastes of the Bourgeoisie
6. Lack of Heroic Breadth in the “English Ring”
7. Lack of Heroic Breadth in the Scott Operas
PART IV
“PARNASSUS AND POTATOES: THE PIERIAN STREAM AND THE MILL-POND” HEROIC POTENTIAL NEGLECTED AND ABUSED
8. Light and Romantic Opera: The Night Dancers, Raymond and Agnes, and Thorgrim
9. Serious Opera with Lieto Fine: Esmeralda
10. Comic Opera: The Canterbury Pilgrims and Much Ado About Nothing
PART V
BEYOND THE BOURGEOIS PALE: EXCEPTIONS TO THE UNHEROIC, HEROIC OUSIDERS: “VICTORIAN VERISMO
11. The Hewess and the Irish Bootlegger
12. Comic Opera: the Irish Rebel in Shamus O’Brien
13. “Victorian Verismo:” Impassioned Outsiders: Colomba, Guillem, and Margarida
CONCLUSION
AFTERWORD
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
APPENDIX