1st Edition

Opera, Emotion, and the Antipodes Volume I Historical Perspectives: Creating the Metropolis; Delineating the Other

Edited By Jane Davidson, Michael Halliwell, Stephanie Rocke Copyright 2021
    252 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    There can be little doubt that opera and emotion are inextricably linked. From dramatic plots driven by energetic producers and directors to the conflicts and triumphs experienced by all associated with opera’s staging to the reactions and critiques of audience members, emotion is omnipresent in opera. Yet few contemplate the impact that the customary cultural practices of specific times and places have upon opera’s ability to move emotions. Taking Australia as a case study, this two-volume collection of extended essays demonstrates that emotional experiences, discourses, displays and expressions do not share universal significance but are at least partly produced, defined, and regulated by culture. Spanning approximately 170 years of opera production in Australia, the authors show how the emotions associated with the specific cultural context of a nation steeped in egalitarian aspirations and marked by increasing levels of multiculturalism have adjusted to changing cultural and social contexts across time. Volume I adopts an historical, predominantly nineteenth-century perspective, while Volume II applies historical, musicological, and ethnological approaches to discuss subsequent Australian operas and opera productions through to the twenty-first century. With final chapters pulling threads from the two volumes together, Opera, Emotion, and the Antipodes establishes a model for constructing emotion history from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

    Part 1: Context and Concepts


    Jane W. Davidson, Michael Halliwell and Stephanie Rocke

    Chapter 1 Historical Accounts and Emotions Contexts of Opera in Australia since Colonisation

    Jane W. Davidson and Stephanie Rocke

    Part 2: Western Opera in the Antipodean Metropolis & Regional Circuit (1840-1920)

    Chapter 2 Setting the Scene; Preparing the Backdrop: Establishing the Cultural Space for Opera in Early Melbourne (1840-1851)

    Esmeralda Rocha and Stephanie Rocke

    Chapter 3 Opera and Emotions in Gold Rush Melbourne (1851-1890)

    Esmeralda Rocha and Stephanie Rocke

    Chapter 4 The Art of the Impossible: Fanny & Martin Simonsen’s Family Odyssey

    Caroline Anne Ellsmore

    Chapter 5 Henry Tate’s "Marvellous Melbourne": Heartfelt Responses to Opera and the Opera Companies of his Lifetime (1873-1926)

    Christine Mercer

    Part 3 "The Other" Opera

    Chapter 6 Ethiopian Entertainers and Opera Burlesque: Blackface Parodies in Colonial Australia

    Helen J. English

    Chapter 7 Smoking Opium, Puffing Cigars, and Drinking Gingerbeer: Chinese Opera in Australia

    Michael Williams

    Chapter 8 Chinese Opera and Racism in Colonial Victoria 1853-1870

    Stephanie Rocke


    Jane W. Davidson has performed in and directed opera for more than 30 years. She is currently Head of Performing Arts at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. She has published widely, across the field of music psychology, musicology and practice as research. She is president of the Australian Music and Psychology Society.

    Michael Halliwell has enjoyed a career as an opera singer in Europe and as an academic at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has published widely, and is president of the International Association for Word and Music Studies.

    Stephanie Rocke is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne affiliated with ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions with wide-ranging interests and publications in music and culture across time.