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Jacques Offenbach and the Making of Modern Culture


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  • Date Published: September 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521871808

£ 94.99

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About the Authors
  • Offenbach's operas were a significant force for cultural change, both in his own time and in the decades to follow. In this book, Laurence Senelick demonstrates the ways in which this musical phenomenon took hold globally, with Offenbach's work offering an alternative, irreverent, sexualized view of life which audiences found liberating, both personally and socially. In the theatre, the composer also inspired cutting-edge innovations in stagecraft and design, and in this book, he is recognized as a major cultural influence, with an extensive impact on the spheres of literature, art, film, and even politics. Senelick argues that Offenbach's importance spread far beyond France, and that his provocative and entertaining works, often seen as being more style than substance, influenced numerous key artists, writers, and thinkers, and made a major contribution to the development of modern society.

    • Presents a global view of the works of Offenbach, a key figure in nineteenth-century culture, and highly influential for the theatrical innovation of the twentieth century
    • Demonstrates the impact of Offenbach's work to the spheres of literature, art, film, politics, and society
    • Reveals the role of comedy and irreverence, as exhibited in Offenbach's operas, in the development of modern culture
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    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'At long last someone has written a brand new Offenbach book - in English. And what's even better, it's a great book full of historical facts mostly overlooked (or ignored) by the English language operetta world … Laurence Senelick paints a much more 'gritty' and 'sexually charged' picture of the genre and how it started in Paris and Vienna in the 1850s, asking what made operetta so revolutionary - and what made Offenbach so incredibly successful.' Kevin Clarke, The Operetta Research Center

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521871808
    • length: 370 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • contains: 36 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The French connection
    2. Wagner, Nietzsche, and the polemics of opera
    3. Tales from the Vienna stage
    4. Against the Victorian grain
    5. The discovery of America
    6. Caviar with the champagne
    7. Doing the Continental
    8. South of the equator, east of Suez
    9. A Max Reinhardt production
    10. Red stars
    11. French without tears
    12. English as she is spoke
    13. Rebirth from the ruins
    14. Conclusion: taking Offenbach seriously.

  • Author

    Laurence Senelick, Tufts University, Massachusetts
    Laurence Senelick is Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, Massachusetts, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His numerous books include the award-winning Gordon Craig's Moscow 'Hamlet' (1982), The Age and Stage of George L. Fox (1988), The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre (2000), and The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance (Cambridge, 2000).


    • Winner, 2018 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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