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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the fundamental difficulties of filming opera. Putting opera on the screen is a marriage of art form and media that continues to struggle with the difficulty of adequately reproducing the original work. An opera’s original stage directions are rarely seen to carry the authority of the score, almost invariably failing to provide watertight instructions, a problem that then forces a director to do a lot of connecting the dots. Moreover, any kind of staging of an old work needs to demonstrate that the operatic museum is more than just a fusty mausoleum. Thus do important questions arise about how opera on screen can be expected to interact with, or move in some fashion toward, defining the operatic canon. This chapter is paired with Karen Henson’s “Sound recording and the operatic canon: Three ‘drops of the needle.’”

Keywords: John Culshaw, unreproducibility, cinema, film, YouTube, television, technology, reproduction, broadcast, HD

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