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Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture


Hyunseon Lee and Naomi D. Segal

As a uniquely hybrid form of artistic output, straddling music and theatre and high and popular culture, opera offers vast research possibilities not only in the field of music studies but also in the fields of media and cultural studies. Using the exotic legacy of the fin-de-siècle as its primary lens, this volume explores the shifting relationships between the multimedia genre of opera and the rapidly changing world of visual cultures. It also examines the changing aesthetics of opera in composition and performance and historical (dis)continuity, including the postcolonial era. The book comprises eleven interdisciplinary essays by scholars from eight countries, researching in music, theatre, literature, film and media studies, as well as a special contribution by opera director Sir Jonathan Miller. The book begins with an examination of operatic exoticism in various cultural contexts, such as French, Latin American and Arabic culture. The next sections focus on the most beloved figures in opera performance – Salome, Madame Butterfly and Aida – and performances of these operas through history. Further interpretations of the operas in film and new media are then considered. In the final section, Sir Jonathan Miller reflects on the ‘afterlife’ of opera.
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Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataOpera, exoticism and visual culture / [edited by] Hyunseon Lee and Naomi Segal.    pages cm -- (Cultural interactions : studies in the relationship between the arts ; 34)Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-3-0343-1782-5 (alk. paper)1. Opera. 2. Exoticism in opera. 3. Music--Social aspects. I. Lee, Hyunseon. II. Segal, Naomi. ML1700.O6687 2014 792.509--dc23


ISSN 1662-0364ISBN 978-3-0343-1782-5 (print)ISBN 978-3-0353-0659-0 (eBook)

Cover image: Milijana Nikolic as Amneris and Latonia Moore as Aida in Opera Australia’s Aida, Sydney Opera House 2012. Photo credit Branco Gaica.

© Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2015Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern,,,

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