Recognition in Mozart's Operas

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Since its beginnings, opera has depended on recognition as a central aspect of both plot and theme. Though a standard feature of opera, recognition—a moment of new awareness that brings about a crucial reversal in the action—has been largely neglected in opera studies. In Recognition in Mozart's Operas, musicologist Jessica Waldoff draws on a broad base of critical thought on recognition from Aristotle to Terence Cave to explore the essential role it plays in Mozart's operas. The result is a fresh approach to the familiar question of opera as drama and a persuasive new reading of Mozart's operas.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jessica Waldoff provides a scholarly and illuminating discussion, handsomely produced with generous musical illustrations, developing new themes of critical thought, and stimulating fresh insight into Morzart's operas."—Andrew Steptoe, Music and Letters

"Jessica Waldoff's book is an original, well-written, and important contribution to the study of Mozart's operas."—John Platoff, Professor of Music, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

"Professor Waldoff's study of recognition in Mozart's operas joins a select body of scholarship devoted to the thematics of this great corpus. But it is also much more than that. Her broad-ranging approach reaches back to the Aristotelian roots of recognition as a dramatic trope, and forward to its role in the music dramas of Wagner and Verdi. Professor Waldoff also restores 'plot' in opera studies to the station it deserves as a cardinal artistic ingredient and redresses, clear-sightedly and without polemics, the imbalance of 'text' and 'score' that has haunted much musicological writing about opera and drama."—Thomas Bauman, Professor of Musicology, Northwestern University

"Jessica Waldoff's analysis of the specifically musical representation of recognition not only delivers new and fruitful ways of understanding the operas she discusses, but also reopens the whole question of what happens at these strange but crucial moments in a story."—Terence Cave, Emeritus Professor of French, University of Oxford, Emeritus Research Fellow, St. John's College, and author of Recognitions: A Study in Poetics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195151978
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2006
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessica Waldoff is an Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction Recognition: An Introduction Recognition as a New Perspective Figaro's "Scar" as the "Signature of a Fiction"

Chapter 1: Operatic Enlightenment in Die Zauberfl�te Enlightenment as Metaphor Tamino's Recognition: "Wann wird das Licht mein Auge finden?"
Pamina, Papageno, and the End of the Opera The "Scandal" of Recognition

Chapter 2: Recognition Scenes in Theory and Practice Recognition in Classical and Contemporary Poetics Recognitions of Identity in Mozart Disguise and Its Discovery The Quest for Self-Discovery What Recognition Brings in the End

Chapter 3: Reading Opera for the Plot Plot in Contemporary Poetics and Opera Plotting in Le nozze di Figaro Mozart and the Plot that is "Well Worked Out"

Chapter 4: Sentimental Knowledge in La finta giardiniera La "vera" and la "finta" giardiniera Reading Opera "for the sentiment"
Sandrina as "Virtue in Distress"
Count Belfiore, Madness, and the Restorative Recognition

Chapter 5: Don Giovanni: Recognition Denied The Problem of the Ending D�nouement and lieto fine Recognition Prepared and Denied
"Life without the Don"

Chapter 6: Sense and Sensibility in Cos� fan tutte Resisting the Ending Reading Cos� "for the sentimen"
The Language of Sentimental Knowledge
"Vorrei dir," "Smanie implacabili," and Questions of Parody Positions of Knowledge

Chapter 7: Fiordiligi: A Woman of Feeling The Ideal of the Phoenix Fiordiligi, Ferrarese, and "Come scoglio"
"Per piet�": Recognition Denied The Triumph of Feeling over Constancy

Chapter 8: La clemenza di Tito: The Sense of the Ending The Language of clemenza and piet�
The Politics of Tyranny Vitellia's Transformation Sesto's Conflict Tito's Clemency

"I called him a Papageno"
Beyond Mozart

Works Cited

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