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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the equivocal status of religion within opera and operatic discourse with reference to the following themes: (1) the long-standing supposition of opera as an inherently secular genre, (2) the significance of pagan religion in operas based on classical myths, (3) religion as a focus of operatic censorship, (4) the use of biblical and other religious figures as allegorical representations of political ideas, (5) prayer in opera, (6) the determining influence of religious attitudes of composers and librettists, and (7) the normative function of Roman Catholic attitudes toward celibacy and religious vocation as underpinning traditional representations of religion in opera.

Keywords: biblical, censorship, myth, opera, prayer, religion

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