Academic journal article Current Musicology

Editors' Note

Academic journal article Current Musicology

Editors' Note

Article excerpt

Current Musicology occasionally publishes special issues devoted to specific topics, and although this issue was not strictly conceived as such, it does contain a series of articles that all pertain to opera and performance studies, on a broad range of subjects from bel canto to blockbuster film.

We open with a trio of contributions that explore new social and historical dimensions of well-known nineteenth-century operas. Melina Esse considers Bellini's La sonnambula and the concept of "restraint"--whether physical, emotional, or melodic--as a key factor to understanding the canto declamato style of singing. Her study moves deftly from the opera stage to trends in fashion and their reception in the Italian popular press, in order to reconstruct a sense of the multiple ways in which women's bodies and voices were "restrained" at the time of the opera's premiere. Benjamin Binder's investigation of Kundry in Wagner's last opera, Parsifal, surveys a vast body of recent musicological literature and offers a new reading of the much-commented-upon silencing of the character in the last act. Through detailed musical and dramaturgical analysis, Binder argues that Kundry continues to serve an important narrative function even after her last vocal utterance, thereby drawing attention to the opera's problematic conflation of Wagner's anti-Semitic ideology and the concept of musical transcendence. Taking Verdi's Aida as an example, Lydia Goehr considers what it can mean to offer a critical reading of an opera. …

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