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Nineteenth-Century Opera and the Scientific Imagination

Author(s): Edited by David Trippett, Benjamin Walton

ISBN: 9781107529021
Publication Date: 22/8/2019
Pages: 397
Format: Paperback
Regular price £23.99 GBP
Regular price Sale price £23.99 GBP

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Scientific thinking has long been linked to music theory and instrument making, yet the profound and often surprising intersections between the sciences and opera during the long nineteenth century are here explored for the first time. These touch on a wide variety of topics, including vocal physiology, theories of listening and sensory communication, technologies of theatrical machinery and discourses of biological degeneration. Taken together, the chapters reveal an intertwined cultural history that extends from backstage hydraulics to drawing-room hypnotism, and from laryngoscopy to theatrical aeronautics. Situated at the intersection of opera studies and the history of science, the book therefore offers a novel and illuminating set of case studies, of a kind that will appeal to historians of both science and opera, and of European culture more generally from the French Revolution to the end of the Victorian period.

  • Establishes a new interdisciplinary field of opera and science studies to inform and shape future work that brings musicology and opera studies closer to the history and philosophy of science
  • Brings together contributors from history and philosophy of science and from musicology, and includes chapters on vocal physiology, material culture, sensory communication, stage technologies, theories of listening, electricity, hypnotism, and biological degeneration
  • Continues the development of new ways of thinking about the history of material culture for music studies and includes well-grounded examples of how historians can work in this hybrid field