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Opera and Video

Technology and Spectatorship

Edited By Héctor Pérez

The contributions in this volume reflect the efforts of musicology to understand a hybrid area with a fascinating evolution. They aim to address the relationship between opera and audiovisual technology from its origins to today by offering the results of a balanced critical and innovative approach. The reader interested in opera, aesthetics, narrative or transmediality will find concrete approaches devoted to an unexplored diversity of aspects with an impact on the narrative conditions in which we watch opera on screen. The variety of perspectives shows how original methodological approaches are able to design a new map of the main transmedial problems of opera in TV, DVD and even in phonography. The book offers not only isolated theoretical contributions but seeks a connection of them with significant practice oriented approaches coming from the fields of video direction and composition.


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GABRIELA CRUZThe Fairy Tale of Bel Canto: Walt Disney, Theodor Adorno,Kurt Weill Play the Gramophone 13


The Fairy Tale of Bel Canto: Walt Disney, Theodor Adorno, Kurt Weill Play the Gramophon GABRIELA CRUZ This essay explores bel canto (re)formed by phonography and ad- dresses lyrical apotheosis as an effect of the materialities of recording, transmission, and reproduction.1 Bel canto is understood here as a form of lyrical beauty somewhat unhinged from operatic history, as an ideal of song and of singing implicated with a modern poetics of won- der. Fin-de-siècle inventors and fabulists first conceived of the prom- ise of reproduction – the historical and technical domain of recorded sound – as one of enchantment, formed in magical intercourse with the inhuman.2 They thus inaugurated an influential line of discourse about recorded song, one echoed most recently in Christopher Morris’ discussion of lyrical song in the digital age as a hybrid form, an ex- pressive moment forged in the encounter with the radical otherness of technical mediation, grounded in the pleasures of “dispersion, distri- bution, and blurred boundaries” or, as Morris puts it, “of transmis- 1 An early version of this essay was presented at the International Workshop on Opera and Video, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia/Instituto Valenciano de la Música, held on the 22–23 March 2010. I am grateful to Héctor Perez Lopez, the conference organizer, and to all the conference participants for the generosi- ty of their reactions to the initial paper. Thanks also to Roger Parker, Dana Goo- ley, and Alessandra Campana, who read the later version of the essay,...

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