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Technology and the Diva
Sopranos, Opera, and Media from Romanticism to the Digital Age


Part of Cambridge Studies in Opera

Hannah Clancy, David Gutkin, Lucie Vágnerová, Karen Henson, Isabelle Moindrot, Sean M. Parr, Susan Rutherford, Melina Esse, Lydia Goehr, Arman Schwartz, Heather Hadlock, Clemens Risi, Jonathan Sterne
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  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521198066

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About the Authors
  • In Technology and the Diva, Karen Henson brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the neglected subject of opera and technology. Their essays focus on the operatic soprano and her relationships with technology from the heyday of Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s to the twenty-first-century digital age. The authors pay particular attention to the soprano in her larger than life form, as the 'diva', and they consider how her voice and allure have been created by technologies and media including stagecraft and theatrical lighting, journalism, the telephone, sound recording, and visual media from the painted portrait to the high definition simulcast. In doing so, the authors experiment with new approaches to the female singer, to opera in the modern - and post-modern - eras, and to the often controversial subject of opera's involvement with technology and technological innovation.

    • Offers an important new perspective on the female singer in opera and on related topics of the voice, the body, and operatic celebrity
    • Contributors engage in nuanced and thoughtful discussion of the often controversial subject of opera and technology
    • Takes an interdisciplinary approach and ranges historically from the heyday of Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s to the twenty-first-century digital age
    • Examines singers, performance, and production across three centuries, from the great traditions of the nineteenth century to our present-day repertory of 'classics'
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Is a 'diva' a coddled megastar, or an archetype of female power? Is 'technology' a euphemism for the modern world's threat to artistic tradition, or a synonym for craft and innovation? The essays in this book will leave opera-lovers questioning their assumptions - and turning the page to read more.' Anne Midgette, classical music critic, The Washington Post

    'What can, what should, technology do for the diva? Can such a starry, extravagant symbol find a place within our imaginings of industrial and post-industrial modernity? This engaging collection of essays, which ranges over two hundred years of opera, offers a fascinating and surprisingly positive answer.' Roger Parker, King's College London

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521198066
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 180 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    A chronology Hannah Clancy, David Gutkin and Lucie Vágnerová
    Introduction: of modern operatic mythologies and technologies Karen Henson
    1. Mythologies of the diva in nineteenth-century French theater Isabelle Moindrot
    2. Coloratura and technology in the mid nineteenth-century mad scene Sean M. Parr
    3. Photographic diva: Massenet's relationship with the soprano Sibyl Sanderson Karen Henson
    4. 'Pretending to be wicked': divas, technology, and the consumption of Bizet's Carmen Susan Rutherford
    5. The silent diva: Farrar's Carmen Melina Esse
    6. The domestic diva: toward an operatic history of the telephone Lydia Goehr
    7. The absent diva: notes toward a life of Cathy Berberian Arman Schwartz
    8. The televisual apotheosis of the diva in István Szabó's Meeting Venus Heather Hadlock
    9. Diva poses by Anna Netrebko: on the perception of the extraordinary in the twenty-first century Clemens Risi
    Afterword: opera, media, technicity Jonathan Sterne.

  • Editor

    Karen Henson, City University of New York
    Karen Henson is Associate Professor at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. She trained at the University of Oxford and in Paris, and her work has been supported by fellowships and awards from The British Academy, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Henson's research focuses on nineteenth-century opera, singers and opera performance, and opera and technology. She is the author of Opera Acts: Singers and Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2015). She is currently working on a book about opera and early sound recording.


    Hannah Clancy, David Gutkin, Lucie Vágnerová, Karen Henson, Isabelle Moindrot, Sean M. Parr, Susan Rutherford, Melina Esse, Lydia Goehr, Arman Schwartz, Heather Hadlock, Clemens Risi, Jonathan Sterne

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