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Mimomania – Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera - California Scholarship Online
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Mimomania: Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera

Mary Ann Smart


When Friedrich Nietzsche dubbed Richard Wagner “the most enthusiastic mimomaniac” ever to exist, he was objecting to a hollowness he felt in the music, a crowding out of any true dramatic impulse by extravagant poses and constant nervous movements. This book takes Nietzsche's accusation as an invitation to listen to Wagner's music—and that of several of his near-contemporaries—for the way it serves to intensify the visible and the enacted. This productive fusion of music and stage movement often arises when music forsakes the autonomy so prized by the Romantics to function mimetically, underli ... More

Keywords: Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Romantics, stage movement, Giuseppe Verdi, Daniel Auber, French melodrama, gesture, music, operas

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780520239951
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520239951.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Ann Smart, author