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: 14 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the opera chorus throughout its history as a lightning rod for operatic reform, focusing in particular on the fluctuations of its dramatic and political responsibilities. In opera, the chorus’s dramaturgical role has frequently indexed the genre’s concerns more generally: referencing the chorus of ancient Greek tragedy by providing reflective commentary; providing a human spectacle to populate the scenic one; or embodying the sentiments of nationalism and other mass politics. But this chapter also makes the case that eighteenth-century debates over verisimilitude—particularly the idealized dramaturgy of spontaneous utterance by individuals, not groups—effectively removed the opera chorus from a central role in the genre. Although the chorus obviously remained a persistent presence on the operatic stage, it has struggled to recoup the dramaturgical grounding it enjoyed in earlier centuries.

Keywords: opera chorus, spectacle, dramaturgy, verisimilitude, nationalism, politics, operatic reform

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.