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Aspects of Period-Turns

  • Helen GeyerEmail author
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Part of the Nordic Wittgenstein Studies book series (NRWS, volume 6)

Abstract

We begin with the portrayal of the elderly in European opera. Five case studies are examined, each of which raises first a conflict between an older generation and a younger, and second a pattern of political and moral commentary more subtle and varied than we might have expected. Our first example, Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea (1642/1931) explores the conflict between the philosopher, Seneca, and his protégé, the Roman Emperor, Nero. Seneca is executed for defending reason and republicanism, by a wilful tyrant who indulges his personal and idiosyncratic whims. Four other examples from the history of opera display the great range of moral and political conflicts that can be discovered in such works of theatre. Musical subtleties are shown to play important and revealing roles in the different stories, but all of the plots also highlight the generational confrontations that are revealed by asking the title question: how is old age treated on the opera stage?

Keywords

Monteverdi Mozart Cherubini Wagner Benjamin Britten Opera Ethics, Old-age 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT WeimarWeimarGermany

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