Reading Opera between the Lines: Orchestral Interludes and Cultural Meaning from Wagner to Berg

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Overview

A characteristic feature of Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian opera is the tendency to link scenes with numerous and often surprisingly lengthy orchestral interludes, frequently performed with the curtain closed. Often taken for granted or treated as a filler by audiences and critics, these interludes can take on very prominent roles, representing dream sequences, journeys and sexual encounters. Combining studies of individual musical texts with an investigation of the critical discourse surrounding the operas, Christopher Morris investigates the implications of these important but strangely overlooked passages.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reading Opera between the Lines raises important and intriguing questions that should be of interest to any scholars and music lovers concerned with the cultural significance of orchestral music in opera." The Opera Quarterly

"Morris's thoughtful and well-produced book (including numerous musical examples of high quality) contains a wealth of stimulating insights into those sections of operas that are often interpreted in purely diagetic and reflective terms. As an engaging writer (even in the more abstruse sections), he makes for rewarding reading, even for those not so well versed in certain aspects of critical discourse as the author obviously is. On a pragmatic note, this book should surely be required reading for all opera conductors, some of whom I suspect remain unaware of the possible significance of many of the orchestral interludes they so often direct." Notes

"A slim, well-packed book to study and ponder. Recommended." The Opera Journal

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Christopher Morris is Lecturer in Music at University College Cork. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Musicological Research, Musical Quarterly and The Journal of the Royal Musical Society.

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Table of Contents

Prelude
1 A walk on the wild side: musical narrative and pleasure in A Village Romeo and Juliet
2 What the conductor saw: orchestral love scenes in Esclarmonde and Feuersnot
3 Lost in the forest: music, mystery, and the unconscious in Pelleas et Melisande
4 'Sympathy with Death': nostalgia and narcissism in post-Wagnerian opera
5 'A Torrent of Unsettling Sounds': Der Schatzgraber and the twilight of music drama
6 Wagner and 'Invisible Theatre'
Postlude
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