Mythological in the Operas of Benjamin Britten

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“This work written by authors Slobodan Lazarevic and Radmila Paunovic Stajn is a true scientific contribution to contemporary aesthetic thinking and post-structural study of the semantic and meta-semantic in the artifacts of contemporary art… using musicological and narrative methods, when discussing librettos and carefully composing their idea through overall Britten’s oeuvre, the authors emphasize the presence of mythological pattern in the work of this prolific and significant artist.”
-Prof. Dr. Miomir Petrovic,
Faculty for Culture and Media,
Megatrend University, Belgrade


“The elaboration of narration at several levels as polyvalent and polyphonic through the plots and heroes of six great operas of Benjamin Britten revealed some general characteristics and connections between the antique drama and theatre and contemporary sound and image. Primarily because, ‘the myth is the base and beginning of every creation’, as Lazarevic wrote; thereby if contemporary art is analyzed through the discourse of the myth, mythological images and sound, then more obvious and clearer coordinates of overall processes in contemporary arts are obtained.”
-Dr. Branka Radovic,
General Manager and Director of Opera and Ballet
Opera & Theatre MADLENIANUM

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr Nikola Strajnic
Introduction - Soundless light
I Identification
1. Tradition and authority
2. Transformation of the mythological image
2.1. The bases of “new mythology” - a brief survey
2.2. The hero of the pioneer epoch
2.3. Dethroning the image of the culture hero
II Antique chorus in Britten’s creative procedure
1. Synchrony and diachrony
2. The tragic and destiny
3. Temptation and blackmail
4. The seesaws of Destiny
5. Renunciation of a powerful ruler
6. Just – Unjust
7. The lead of years, the burden of memory
1. Britten’s mythopoeic model of the world
2. The pearl-diver
2.1. The shift of the fabricated structure
IV Revelation of the concealed meaning
1. Mind and speech
1.1. Recitatives
1.2. Prayers and sermons
V Benjamin Britten’s dominoes
1. The Ego and the World
2. Apostle of silence
2.1 Choice and interchange
2.2 The victim and purification
2.3 Guilt and passion
2.4 Zero degree of speech
Conclusion - Pizzicato – sparks without a bow
Appendix I - Z. Hristi?: Simple Serbia
Appendix II – Dr Branka Radovic,: The mythological and the spiritual in opera from Wagner to Britten
Index of names

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