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November 30 , 2010

Opera in a Multicultural World

Coloniality, Culture, Performance


Through historical and contemporary examples, this book critically explores the relevance and expressions of multicultural representation in western European operatic genres in the modern world. It reveals their approaches to reflecting identity, transmitting meaning, and inspiring creation, as well as the ambiguities and contradictions that occur across the time and place(s) of their performance. This collection brings academic researchers in opera studies into conversation with previously unheard voices of performers, critics, and creators to speak to issues of race, ethnicity, and culture in the genre. Together, they deliver a powerful critique of the perpetuation of the values and practices of dominant cultures in operatic representations of intercultural encounters. Essays accordingly cross methodological boundaries in order to focus on a central issue in the emerging field of coloniality: the hierarchies of social and political power that include the legacy of racialized practices. In theorizing coloniality through intercultural exchange in opera, authors explore a range of topics and case studies that involve immigrant, indigenous, exoticist, and other cultural representations and consider a broad repertoire that includes lesser-known Canadian operas, Chinese- and African-American performances, as well as works by Haydn, Strauss, Puccini, and Wagner, and in performances spanning three continents and over two centuries. In these ways, the collection contributes to the development of a more integrated understanding of the interdisciplinary fields inherent in opera, including musicology, sociology, anthropology, and others connected to Theatre, Gender, and Cultural Studies. 

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