Opera and Ideas: From Mozart to Strauss

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9780060154509: Opera and Ideas: From Mozart to Strauss

Opera and Ideas is a study of the connections between music and intellectual history. Through lucid analysis of six operas and two song cycles, Paul Robinson shows how operas give musical and dramatic expression to ideas about the self, society, and history.

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Review:

"Opera and Ideas . . . places opera firmly in intellectual history and shows in a more than cursory fashion how attitudes toward society, culture and politics shape great operatic works. . . . But the music, far from falling victim to categories imported from the history classrooom, is illuminated in remarkably sophisticated ways. . . . Mr. Robinson leaves his essays to speak for themselves, offering no grand interpretation. But the book works nevertheless as a sort of narrative, proceeding from the Enlightenment critique in 'Figaro,' through 19th-century explorations of the place of the individual in nature and history, to the troubled psyche of Strauss. It is a narrative that . . . presents a tale of the rise and fall of history itself on the operatic stage, reaching its climax in Berlioz, Wagner and Verdi."― Eward Rothstein, New York Times Book Review

"Robinson . . . achieves the true purpose of criticism: to impel his reader to return to the music itself, and to hear it anew."― Otto Friedrich, Time Magazine

From Library Journal:

In this thoughtful study, historian and opera lover Robinson relates music to the history of ideas by analyzing sever al major operas: The Marriage of Fi garo, The Barber of Seville, Les Troyens, Don Carlo, Die Meistersing er, and Der Rosenkavalier. He also considers two Schubert song cycles. Robinson's thesis is that composers' at titues toward society, philosophy, and politics have influenced the musical/ dramatic structure of many operas. To be sure, Robinson sometimes over states the music's philosophical signifi cance, but overall he presents his argu ment compellingly and eloquently, and his command of musical history is most : impressive. In sum, a stimulating and welcome contribution to the literature, and highly recommended. Bryan C. Stoneburner, Univ. of Hawaii Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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