Opera performances are often radically inventive. Composers’ revisions, singers’ improvisations, and stage directors’ re-imaginings continually challenge our visions of canonical works. But do they go far enough? This elegantly written, beautifully concise book, spanning almost the entire history of opera, reexamines attitudes toward some of our best-loved musical works. It looks at opera's history of multiple visions and revisions and asks a simple question: what exactly is opera? Remaking the Song, rich in imaginative answers, considers works by Handel, Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, and Berio in order to challenge what many regard as sacroscant: the opera’s musical text. Scholarly tradition favors the idea of great operatic texts permanently inscribed in the canon. Roger Parker, considering examples ranging from Cecilia Bartoli's much-criticized insistence on using Mozart's alternative arias in the Marriage of Figaro to Luciano Berio's new ending to Puccini's unfinished Turandot, argues that opera is an inherently mutable form, and that all of us—performers, listeners, scholars—should celebrate operatic revisions as a way of opening works to contemporary needs and new pleasures.
Roger Parker, Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge, is author of Leonora's Last Act: Essays in Verdian Discourse and editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera.
“[Written by] one of the liveliest minds in the field of Italian opera.”—Opera"Parker is an outstanding figure in the world of Italian opera, and here the meticulous analysis and excellence of the prose make for a brilliant book with truly radical implications. Remaking the Song represents a scholarly gold-standard."—Carolyn Abbate, author of In Search of Opera
Annual Conference proceedings
The SDN publishes selected papers from its annual conferences. Click on the links for further details and how to order.
Aller(s)-Retour(s), Nineteenth-Century France in Motion
(Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).
Loïc Guyon / Andrew Watts (eds.)
If the eighteenth century was the age of reason and enlightenment, the nineteenth century was undeniably the age of movement. This tumultuous period in French history bore witness to the rise and fall of countless political movements, from revolutions and “coups d’état”, to popular protests and the first workers’ strikes. It was an age of economic movements as France embraced the new world of finance and banking, and underwent its own industrial revolution. Social mobility increased as a dynamic commercial bourgeoisie began to challenge the system of aristocratic privilege that neither the 1789 Revolution nor the Napoleonic Empire had dismantled entirely. The era was one of artistic ferment, as Romanticism gave way to Realism, Naturalism, Impressionism, and Symbolism. Intellectual and philosophical movements, from Liberalism to Saint-Simonianism, sought both to reconcile the country with its past and construct the framework for a progressive, more harmonious future. Through seventeen thematic essays, Aller(s)-Retour(s) seeks to understand nineteenth-century France as a society in perpetual motion. Recognising the instability that is key to the very concept of movement, this volume explores how the intellectual shifts and cross-currents of the nineteenth century responded to, and impacted upon, each other. Finally, it asks why questions of motion and movement dominated this period, as every sphere of French life confronted its own extremes of progress and renewal, stagnancy and regression.
Mapping Memory in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture
Susan Harrow / Andrew Watts (eds.)
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2012, 331 pp.
Memory and memory studies have shaped a major site of humanities research over the last twenty years. Examined by ethnographers, archaeologists, social scientists, historians, economists, archivists, art historians, and literary scholars, the theme of memory – individual memory and memoir, collective memory, official memory and oral memory, cultural memory and popular memory – has informed academic discourse and formed institutional structures. Yet, the matter of memory is, paradoxically, under-explored in studies of the ‘long nineteenth century’ in France. Mapping Memory in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture focuses critical attention on that neglected century when France was struggling to negotiate the serially renewed memory of revolutionary turmoil and socio-cultural redefinition. This volume explores the spaces that the memory process claims and shapes, and it works to identify the crosscurrents that connect those spaces. It asks how memory resists – or cedes to – colonisations by authority, by official discourse, by history, and by aesthetics. It asks how memory-work coincides with or morphs into the processes of the imagination. Eschewing diachronic approaches, the contributors to this volume explore sites around which memory is concentrated or which it shapes and informs: Memory on the Street; Sites of National Memory; Metamorphoses: Memory and Literary Practice; and Memory’s Imaginary Spaces.
Institutions and Power in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture
David Evans / Kate Griffiths (eds.)
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2011, 322 pp.
The French Revolution of 1789 altered the face of power and the institutions it inhabited in France, and the aftershocks of this seismic change rippled throughout the nineteenth century. With power changing hands between monarchy, empires and republics in quick succession, the nature of power, both personal and political, and institutions, both real and metaphorical, was constantly being redefined, argued over and fought for. This volume provides innovative analyses of nineteenth-century power relations in France across a series of interlinked spheres: artistic, literary, cultural, political, scientific and topographical. Its seventeen chapters trace the direct impact of politics and the shifting power of regimes on the creative arts, and explore power relations in a wide range of contexts including novels, sculpture, painting, education, religion, science, museums and exhibitions across a wide geographical area from Paris to the provinces, southern France and the colonies. The contributors, all experts in their fields, assess the evolving relationship between institutions and power in nineteenth-century France, exploring how the nation debates its past, negotiates its present and, as the foundation of the Third Republic ushers in a period of relative stability, sets about creating its common future.
Pleasure and Pain in Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Culture
Currencies: Fiscal Fortunes and Cultural Capital in Nineteenth-Century France
(Peter Lang, 2005).
Sarah Capitanio / Lisa Downing / Paul Rowe / Nicholas White (eds.)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2005. 211 pp. French Studies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries . Vol. 20 Edited by Cook, Malcolm / Kearns, James
ISBN 3−03910−513−2 / US−ISBN 0−8204−7519−X pb.
The thirteen essays in this volume, based on selected papers given at the Second Annual Conference of the Society of Dix−Neuviémistes (2003), explore the relationships between symbolic, monetary and literary currencies in nineteenth−century France. Essays focus on the sometimes surprising treatment of capitalism and commodity culture in the works of Mallarmé, Zola and Huysmans; the transfer and borrowing of economic and literary commodities, names, and concepts in nineteenth−century culture, from Flora Tristan’s July Monarchy to Schwob’s fin−de−siècle moment; and the interplay between wealth and identity, and commerce and globalisation, in the writings of Hugo, Janin, and Balzac. While it is widely acknowledged that the theme of money is central to nineteenth−century literature, this volume is innovative in tracing the variation, breadth and ubiquity of the idea of currencies in the cultural imaginary of the epoch.
Visions / Revisions: Essays in Nineteenth-Century French Culture
(Peter Lang, 2003).
Nigel Harkness / Paul Rowe / Tim Unwin / Jennifer Yee (eds.)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2004. 330 pp., 2 ill., 4 tables French Studies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Vol. 14 Edited by Malcolm Cook and James Kearns
ISBN 3-03910-140-4 / US-ISBN 0-8204-6950-5 pb.
Selected from papers given at the first annual conference of the Society of Dix-Neuvièmistes, the nineteen essays in this volume contribute diversely towards a revision and a reconceptualisation of nineteenth-century France. Many adopt interdisciplinary methodologies attentive to the interplay between literature, history, art, popular and high culture, politics and science. The wide-ranging discussion of issues such as identity, alterity, commemoration, cultural history, tensions between centre and margins, mimesis and representation, suggest that no simplistic snapshot of this century is possible. Opening with a section on the modernity of the nineteenth century, the volume continues with sections on cultural transfer, war, readings and re-readings, and concludes with two essays on questions of identity. The critical reappraisals put forward here offer us various insights into directions in which nineteenth-century French studies are heading at the turn of another new century.