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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the extended visual constellation of images that reflect not only opera’s devoted audiences, but also a larger segment of the public that may experience opera simply through everyday encounters with books, newspapers, and advertising. A central issue is the way composers tailored the visual components of opera to engage cultural icons and the visual milieu of an intended audience. Questions considered include: How did composers and librettists engage a culture’s visual history and use those images to transmit their message? What did the audience expect to see and what would they have understood that modern viewers cannot or do not any longer comprehend? How does opera sell itself or other products? The chapter examines caricatures, advertisements, stagecraft, and ideology. It concludes with a case study of Verdi’s 1846 Attila and its use of imagery to project a timely and meaningful political message.

Keywords: image, advertisement, stagecraft, caricature, Verdi, Attila

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