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Reclaiming Late-Romantic MusicSinging Devils and Distant Sounds$
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Peter Franklin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520280397

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520280397.001.0001

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Making the World Weep (Problems with Opera)

Making the World Weep (Problems with Opera)

(p.82) Chapter 4 Making the World Weep (Problems with Opera)
Reclaiming Late-Romantic Music

Peter Franklin

University of California Press

Moving from the concert hall to the opera house (familiarly associated with elitism and expense), this chapter aims to uncover the character of opera as popular theater, not least Wagner’s. An evocation of the experience of Parsifal in Bayreuth in 2012 leads to a discussion of Italian opera, often scorned in Germany in the nineteenth century for its vulgarity and crowd-pleasing aspects. Puccini's Suor Angelica is considered as an emblematic late-romantic opera, whose subtlety, tragic power, and magical climax might help us better understand and reevaluate its composer's claim to want to “make the world weep.”

Keywords:   opera house, Wagner, Parsifal, Bayreuth, Italian opera, Puccini, Suor Angelica

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