Opera: The Art of Dying

By Millington, Barry | Opera Canada, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Opera: The Art of Dying


Millington, Barry, Opera Canada


OPERA

THE ART OF DYING

Linda and Michael Hutcheon

Harvard University Press, 239 pp

Love and death are arguably the two most ubiquitous themes in opera--as in Western culture generally. While aspects of love have been commentated upon in all their infinite variety, the notion of mortality in opera has been far less rigorously examined. It is to the function of operatic representations of death that the husband-and-wife team of Linda and Michael Hutcheon (respectively Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto) have turned their attention in their latest cross-disciplinary venture. Drawing on the research and discourses of both their specialties, the authors tackle the issue of the taboos surrounding death, especially in our own time, arguing that the enactment of death in opera helps us to cope with the reality of our eventual demise, and enhances our lives by giving them meaning.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Rejecting Catherine Clement's contention (in her seminal Opera, or the Undoing of Women) that women are singled out for an expiatory (and expiratory) role in opera, the Hutcheons examine a handful of representative cases. First come Blanche de la Force and her sister nuns in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, a work which offers its audience "closure and catharsis" in the face of painful, premature death. Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, they argue, deny the traditional notion of death as something to be feared: rather they welcome it as the fulfilment of their yearning, giving it a positive, serene connotation.

Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen learns not only to accept but also to welcome his death ("We must learn to die, and to die in the fullest sense of the word" is how Wagner famously formulated the god's dilemma in a letter to Rockel). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Opera: The Art of Dying
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.