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Curtain, Gong, SteamWagnerian Technologies of Nineteenth-Century Opera$
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Gundula Kreuzer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279681

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279681.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 22 January 2022



Wagnerian Failure

(p.215) Epilogue
Curtain, Gong, Steam

Gundula Kreuzer

University of California Press

Looking beyond individual stage technologies, the epilogue proposes that Bayreuth’s Festspielhaus can be understood as a preelectric recording machine, and Angelo Neumann’s touring “Wagner Theater” of 1882–83 as its embodied extension. Yet operatic fixity was as illusory as Wagner’s ridding technologies of their technicity, themes explored throughout this book. Even the most advanced devices quickly become obsolete and opaque, and the experience of digital multimedia is more immersive than ever possible for live opera. A discussion of Robert Lepage’s 2010–12 Ring at the Metropolitan Opera challenges the illusionist ideal, while Marina Abramović’s “authentic” productions of recent works reveal the historical contingency of performative effects. Operatic productions by Gob Squad and La Fura dels Baus instead paradigmatically embrace opera’s mixed mediality. The epilogue ends by suggesting that such hypermedial approaches might boost opera’s relevance in the current era of virtual realities, as nostalgia for embodied media encounters the new materialism.

Keywords:   Bayreuth Festspielhaus, Angelo Neumann, Robert Lepage, Marina Abramović, authenticity, hypermediality, technology, digital media, materialism, illusionism

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