Opera on Screen


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Marcia J. Citron

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What happens to opera when it’s presented on the screen? How does an opera change when it becomes a movie, a television presentation, or a video? This book is the first to explore opera and its treatment on the screen from a musicologist’s perspective. Marcia Citron provides a fascinating history of the nearly 100-year-old genre, examines landmark works of opera on screen from a variety of viewpoints, and shows how different electronic media shape the conception of this art form.

The book begins with a comprehensive survey of the origins and development of screen opera. Citron then focuses on such significant works as Franco Zeffirelli’s Otello, Francesco Rosi’s Bizet’s Carmen, Joseph Losey’s Don Giovanni, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal, Peter Sellars’s four opera productions for television, and the celebrated relay telecast of Otello from the Royal Opera House in London. The author draws on ideas from diverse fields, including media studies and gender studies, to examine issues ranging from the relationship between sound and image to the place of the viewer in relation to the spectacle. As she raises questions about divisions between high art and popular art and about the tensions between live and reproduced art forms, Citron reveals how screen treatments reinforce opera’s vitality in a media-intensive age.

Marcia J. Citron is professor and chair of musicology, and Martha and Henry Lovett Distinguished Service Professor at Rice University. She is the author of the acclaimed book Gender and the Musical Canon.

“Citron’s book makes a real contribution to—and helps define—the new and important field of opera on film and video.”—Mary Hunter, Bowdoin College

“How does an opera change when it becomes a movie or a video? Opera on Screen examination is the first to explore how opera is treated on the screen, blending musical with film analysis and including ideas from gender studies and other disciplines to examine connections between art and its reproduction and depiction in other media.”—Bookwatch

“Citron’s Opera on Screen marks one of the most significant and comprehensive contributions to the scholarship on the opera-cinema encounter. . . . [It] is bold and path-breaking. . . . With this book, the growing field of opera-cinema studies is simultaneously burdened and blessed with a wealth of stimulating questions to engage us for some time to come."—Cambridge Opera Journal

“[Citron’s] cogent statements and fluid language make the reader eager to (re) view the operas. . . . A valuable resource for opera and film scholars, this volume is recommended for specialized collections and academic and larger public libraries.”—Library Journal

ISBN: 9780300191417
Publication Date: April 2, 2000
312 pages, 6 x 9
30 b/w illus.