The Literary Lorgnette: Attending Opera in Imperial Russia (Hardback)

Julie A. Buckler

Edité par Stanford University Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 0804732477 / ISBN 13: 9780804732475
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Language: English . Brand New Book. The Golden Age of opera-going in Russia, from the 1840s through the 1880s, coincided with the flourishing of Russian prose realism. During this period, opera and literature exerted a reciprocal influence on one another, each adopting and providing a new context for the other s artistic conventions. Opera permeated the culture of the drawing room so often depicted in literature, and literature simultaneously discovered the opera theater. The relationship between these two artistic genres inspired the use of performative models and conventions in Russian literary art, and led to the interpolation of specific operatic subtexts into literature and life. To many, these genres were antithetical, since opera historically aimed for the high stylistic register, and prose fiction experimented with the low. But the author shows that the attempt to translate opera into prosaic contemporary lives was characteristic of nineteenth-century Russia, since literature provided an alternative cultural theater in Russia to which the opera theater was analogous and parallel. As contested and self-regarding social space, the opera theater offered its visitors a rare public forum.The reception of opera as an art form in Russia resembles the impact of the early cinema on Russian audiences in the early twentieth century, since opera and film both brought about an aesthetic reconfiguring of social space. This book treats opera-going in imperial Russia from multiple perspectives, and discusses such canonical works as Tolstoy s Anna Karenina and Goncharov s Oblomov, major operatic works including Tchaikovsky s Eugene Onegin and Verdi s La Traviata, the impact of Western opera in Russia and the Russian-style prima donna. The book engages with poems, sketches, feuilletons, stories, and rarely-discussed Russian novels, as well as non-fictional reminiscences, reviews, and visual images. Throughout, the book is enriched with examples and anecdotes about performers, spectators, and critics, and reception histories of specific operatic works. N° de réf. du libraire

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Synopsis : The "Golden Age" of opera-going in Russia, from the 1840s through the 1880s, coincided with the flourishing of Russian prose realism. During this period, opera and literature exerted a reciprocal influence on one another, each adopting and providing a new context for the other's artistic conventions. Opera permeated the culture of the drawing room so often depicted in literature, and literature simultaneously discovered the opera theater. The relationship between these two artistic genres inspired the use of performative models and conventions in Russian literary art, and led to the interpolation of specific operatic subtexts into literature and life. To many, these genres were antithetical, since opera historically aimed for the high stylistic register, and prose fiction experimented with the low. But the author shows that the attempt to translate opera into prosaic contemporary lives was characteristic of nineteenth-century Russia, since literature provided an alternative cultural theater in Russia to which the opera theater was analogous and parallel. As contested and self-regarding social space, the opera theater offered its visitors a rare public forum. The reception of opera as an art form in Russia resembles the impact of the early cinema on Russian audiences in the early twentieth century, since opera and film both brought about an aesthetic reconfiguring of social space. This book treats opera-going in imperial Russia from multiple perspectives, and discusses such canonical works as Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Goncharov's Oblomov, major operatic works including Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Verdi's La Traviata, the impact of Western opera in Russia and the Russian-style prima donna. The book engages with poems, sketches, feuilletons, stories, and rarely-discussed Russian novels, as well as non-fictional reminiscences, reviews, and visual images. Throughout, the book is enriched with examples and anecdotes about performers, spectators, and critics, and reception histories of specific operatic works.

Review: In the 19th century, opera inspired passionate responses in many countries, nowhere more than in Russia. "Russian citizens lived for art," says Julie A. Buckler, a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Harvard, in this engaging study. Young men in St. Petersburg would harness themselves to a diva's carriage and pull it through the streets. In the 1840s, there was the "flower frenzy," when fans strove to outdo each other in the tributes they threw at the feet of singers. The status of opera in Russia was more complicated than in Western Europe. The country was late in finding its own operatic voice (even then, a masterpiece as great as Eugen Onegin--later acclaimed as a national treasure--was considered too prosaic). Earlier in the century, despite ambivalence toward the West, Russia depended on imports of Bellini and Donizetti.

The performers, too, were at first mostly foreign. Russia did not produce many sopranos with voices suited to bel canto. Besides that, Russians saw something unwholesome about these traveling ladies of the stage. The French diva Pauline Viardot, a huge star, created an unpleasant stir when she danced in the same ballroom with marriageable society girls. There was a "peculiarly Russian view of the opera diva as public servant," Buckler writes, that demanded she be earnest, not glittering. In an analogous way, La Traviata became popular only after critics interpreted it to emphasize Violetta's redemption, downplaying the unsavory themes of prostitution, disease, and money.

Buckler is most illuminating on this interaction between the art form and its public. She is less original when she examines opera themes in literature of the period, picking out the motifs in both well-known works (Anna Karenina, Oblomov) and obscurities. Buckler does skillfully analyze the treatment of diva and divalike characters in fiction. She depicts these outsize figures as victims of a collision between the romantic poetry of the early 19th century and the realistic prose of the century's second half. As she follows literature into the 20th century, opera represents an obsolete world receding into the past. --David Olivenbaum

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Titre : The Literary Lorgnette: Attending Opera in ...
Éditeur : Stanford University Press
Date d'édition : 2000
Reliure : Hardback
Etat du livre : New

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Description du livre Stanford University Press, United States, 2000. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Golden Age of opera-going in Russia, from the 1840s through the 1880s, coincided with the flourishing of Russian prose realism. During this period, opera and literature exerted a reciprocal influence on one another, each adopting and providing a new context for the other s artistic conventions. Opera permeated the culture of the drawing room so often depicted in literature, and literature simultaneously discovered the opera theater. The relationship between these two artistic genres inspired the use of performative models and conventions in Russian literary art, and led to the interpolation of specific operatic subtexts into literature and life. To many, these genres were antithetical, since opera historically aimed for the high stylistic register, and prose fiction experimented with the low. But the author shows that the attempt to translate opera into prosaic contemporary lives was characteristic of nineteenth-century Russia, since literature provided an alternative cultural theater in Russia to which the opera theater was analogous and parallel. As contested and self-regarding social space, the opera theater offered its visitors a rare public forum. The reception of opera as an art form in Russia resembles the impact of the early cinema on Russian audiences in the early twentieth century, since opera and film both brought about an aesthetic reconfiguring of social space. This book treats opera-going in imperial Russia from multiple perspectives, and discusses such canonical works as Tolstoy s Anna Karenina and Goncharov s Oblomov, major operatic works including Tchaikovsky s Eugene Onegin and Verdi s La Traviata, the impact of Western opera in Russia and the Russian-style prima donna. The book engages with poems, sketches, feuilletons, stories, and rarely-discussed Russian novels, as well as non-fictional reminiscences, reviews, and visual images. Throughout, the book is enriched with examples and anecdotes about performers, spectators, and critics, and reception histories of specific operatic works. N° de réf. du libraire BTE9780804732475

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