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Brecht at the Opera$
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Joy H. Calico

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254824

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254824.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Brecht at the Opera

Joy H. Calico

University of California Press

This chapter argues that opera played a decisive role in several aspects of Bertolt Brecht's work. The majority of Brecht's operas remained unfinished, but he actively pursued plans for many different operas over the course of three decades. The three primary stages of Brecht's career are demarcated musically by particular genres and composers and more generally by political regimes and geographical locations: the Weimar Republic (1918–33); the Nazi regime and exile from it (1933–41 in Europe, 1941–47 in the United States); and East Germany (1948–56). It suggests that Brecht retained an abiding, albeit equivocal interest in the genre's potential. This study examines the links between Brecht and Wagner in relation to opera. It concludes by saying that Opera has most formatively influenced Brecht's entire oeuvre.

Keywords:   opera, Bertolt Brecht, Wagner, Weimar Republic, Nazi regime, East Germany

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