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date: 27 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 32 discusses various methodologies—culture studies, deconstruction, Ideologiekritik, New Historicism—used in analyzing the intersections of opera and politics, including the political affiliations of composers, the context in which operas are performed, the dramatic portrayal of political history, sexual politics, political ideology, the political implications of musical discourse, and others. Following a description of such approaches, the chapter analyzes Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde as an example of a work that can be viewed through consideration of its political content, even when that content is intentionally only implied. Although this music drama is traditionally understood as exemplifying a rejection of politics, careful analysis reveals myriad political dimensions, in terms of the work’s text and of the means by which its music bears political significance. Thus, it can be shown to demonstrate approaches associated with a variety of methodologies employed in the discussion of opera and politics.

Keywords: culture studies, deconstruction, Ideologiekritik, New Historicism, politics, Tristan und Isolde, Wagner

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