Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 15 discusses what Joseph Kerman has called “the most obvious” contribution of music to an opera, characterization. The primacy of music in this respect has been disputed, notably by Peter Kivy, who considers musical characterization to be an illusion. The chapter suggests that a rounded characterization in opera results from collaboration between poet, composer, and singer, and it reaches audiences through music as much as through words and plot. It takes issue with Edward T. Cone’s view that operatic characters are themselves composers, and that diegetic music in opera is impossible; and it discusses operatic acting with reference to a critique by David Hare. Examples are taken from operas by Verdi and Wagner, and allusion is made to, among others, Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Berlioz, Bizet, Debussy, Puccini, Berg, and Britten.

Keywords: characterization, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, diegetic, Kerman, Kivy, Cone

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.