Mimomania: Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera by Mary Ann Smart

By Mary Ann Smart

When Nietzsche dubbed Richard Wagner "the such a lot enthusiastic mimomaniac" ever to exist, he was once objecting to a hollowness he felt within the tune, a crowding out of any precise dramatic impulse by means of extravagant poses and incessant frightened hobbies. Mary Ann shrewdpermanent suspects that Nietzsche could have noticeable and heard greater than he discovered. In Mimomania she takes his accusation as a call for participation to hear Wagner's music—and that of numerous of his near-contemporaries—for how it serves to accentuate the seen and the enacted. As shrewdpermanent demonstrates, this efficient fusion of tune and stream usually arises while tune forsakes the autonomy so prized by way of the Romantics to operate mimetically, underlining the sighs of a Bellini heroine, for example, or the authoritarian footsteps of a Verdi baritone. Mimomania tracks such results via readings of operas by way of Auber, Bellini, Meyerbeer, Verdi, and Wagner.

Listening for gestural tune, we discover resemblance in unforeseen areas: among the overwrought scenes of supplication in French melodrama of the 1820s and a cluster of overdue Verdi arias that finish with the soprano falling to her knees, or among the mute heroine of Auber’s los angeles Muette de Portici and the solemn, nearly theological pantomimic tableaux Wagner builds round characters comparable to Sieglinde or Kundry. Mimomania indicates how realization to gesture indicates a brand new method of the illustration of gender during this repertoire, changing aural analogies for voyeurism and objectification with a extra in particular musical feel of ways track can encompass, propel, and animate the physique on stage.

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Additional resources for Mimomania: Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera (California Studies in 19th Century Music)

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31 And while the stage directions in the score often specify the desired emotional effects of Fenella’s pantomime, they give few hints of the sequence of gestures she might undertake to produce these effects. The copious performing materials for the opera housed at the Bibliothèque de l’Opéra are equally uninformative. Directions for a few dances from the opera are included in a cahier of individual choreographies added to productions in the 1830s, but these 44 / Wagner’s Cancan, Fenella’s Leap notate only formal dances involving two or more performers.

Film originated as a silent genre, and the addition of sound was experienced as a trauma from which some never quite seem to have recovered. The continuing suspicion of sound and its forced or illusory union with image makes sense in connection with the technical process of filmmaking, which dictates that sound is for the most part recorded after image and superimposed on it by a process of dubbing. Moreover, editing enforces a single fixed version of a narrative on all viewers, presenting events from a carefully chosen visual and narrative perspective.

Elle ac court en ce pa 16 lais et tend vers vous les bras. cresc. Example 3 (continued) 20 25 Fenella, poursuivie par Selva et par des gardes, entre avec effroi, elle aperçoit la princesse et court se jeter à ses genoux. ELVIRE Que vou lez vous par 30 Elle fait signe qu’elle ne peut parler. Je sau rai te dé fen lez? dre quand mon bon 34 heur est si grand au jour d’hui. 37 Pour rais je aux mal heu reux re fu ser mon ap à Selva pui? Quelle est donc cette in for tu né e? (continued) Example 3 (continued) 41 SELVA La fil le d’un pê cheur.

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