The articles reprinted in this volume treat operas as opera and from some sort of critical angle; none of the articles uses methodology appropriate for another kind of musical work. Additional criteria used in selecting the articles were that they should not have been reprinted widely before and that taken together they should cover an extended array of significant operas and critical questions about them. Trends in Anglophone scholarship on post-1900 opera then determined the structure of the volume. The anthologized articles are organized according to the place of origin of the opera discussed in each of them; the introduction, however, follows a thematic approach. Themes considered in the introduction include questions of genre and reception; perspectives on librettos and librettists; words, lyricism, and roles of the orchestra; and modernism and other political contexts.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Operas by Viennese Composers, ca. 1910-1935: Expressive principle and orchestral polyphony in Schoenberg's Erwartung, Carl Dahlhaus; 'Die Frauenfrage' in Erwartung: Schoenberg's collaboration with Marie Pappenheim, Elizabeth L. Keathley; A Florentine Tragedy, or woman as mirror, Sherry D. Lee; Schoenberg as Moses and Aron, Joseph Auner; Berg's Propaganda pieces: the 'Platonic idea' of Lulu, Margaret Notley. Part II Operas from Other European Contexts: The Verbunkos and BartÃ³k's modern style: the case of Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Judit Frigyesi; Hans Pfitzner's Palestrina and the impotence of early lateness, Stephen McClatchie; Ariadne, Daphne and the problem of Verwandlung, Bryan Gilliam; The concept of epic opera: theoretical anomalies in the Brecht-Weill partnership, Stephen Hinton; French identity in flux: the triumph of Honegger's Antigone, Jane F. Fulcher; Back to the future: Shostakovich's revision of Leskov's 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District', Caryl Emerson. Part III Operas by Britten and Birtwistle: 'Peter Grimes': the growth of the libretto, Philip Brett; 'Twisted relations': method and meaning in Britten's Billy Budd, Arnold Whittall; Why does Miles die? A study of Britten's The Turn of the Screw, Clifford Hindley; The shadow of opera: dramatic narrative and musical discourse in Gawain, David Beard. Part IV Operas Composed in the United States: Porgy and Bess: 'an American Wozzeck', Christopher Reynolds; Kurt Weill, modernism, and popular culture: Ã–ffentlichkeit als Stil, Kim H. Kowalke; The best of all possible worlds: the Eldorado episode in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Elizabeth B. Crist; The great American opera: Klinghoffer, Streetcar, and the exception, Lawrence Kramer; Instrumental dramaturgy as humane comedy: What Next? by Elliott Carter and Paul Griffiths, Anne C. Shreffler; Name Index.