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The "I" of the other : opera and gender in Vienna.

Darwin, Carola Frances (2010) The "I" of the other : opera and gender in Vienna. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.


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The extraordinary richness of musical life in early twentieth-century Vienna coincided with an increasingly confident movement for the emancipation of Women. While these two areas have attracted considerable academic attention as separate phenomena, this thesis is the first to consider, in detail, connections between the two. In particular, it investigates the way that opera contributed to the discourse on gender in early twentieth-century Viennese culture. After a brief discussion of the existing literature on gender and opera, and of the methodology adopted, the thesis examines the discourse on gender in Vienna at this time, drawing on writings by a variety of authors. These represent a spectrum of attitudes to the women's movement, from those actively involved in it to those who strongly opposed it. The analysis identifies three main themes in the gender discourse: the way that power shapes relationships; the nature of gender difference; and the experience of autonomy, which is central to a person's sense of self. These are then used as a starting point in the investigation of the operatic life of the period. Three operas are used as case studies: Zemlinsky's Der Traumgorge, Strauss's Salome and Schoenberg's Erwartung. Detailed analysis of each libretto and score reveals how these operas reflect and contribute to the contemporary discourse on gender. It becomes clear that opera provides a particularly powerful way to explore a character's autonomy, through an expression of her internal life as she develops and changes. Finally, the way that ideas about gender appeared in operatic performance is discussed, through an analysis of the life, work and writings of the singer Marie Gutheil-Schoder. Her descriptions of her preparation of a role demonstrate a preoccupation with the internal life of the character, which is absolutely consistent with the themes developed in the rest of the thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.521888
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 09:24
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 09:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14690

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