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Britain Goes to the Opera: Discourses of Nation in Late Georgian Music Drama

Shearer, D C (2014) Britain Goes to the Opera: Discourses of Nation in Late Georgian Music Drama. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Music and drama remain largely neglected fields in the wider discipline of nineteenth-century British history. Equally, the kinds of home-grown music-drama so prevalent in Britain during the decades between the French Revolution and the Reform Act of 1832, have been overlooked by musicologists and theatre historians in terms of how they stimulated new ways of thinking about ‘Britishness’. My aim with this thesis therefore will be to investigate how exactly the genre of English Opera can be used to illustrate contemporary discussions of ‘Nation’ taking place in Late Georgian Britain. By examining the textual aspects of these music dramas, I will look at how the medium of opera, particularly its musical elements bring a fresh mode of representation to topical issues central to the lives of Britons living in a war-faring, reform-conscious society. Equally, the problems presented by this genre, in terms of its foreign character, remediation of treasured literature and effects upon public taste, will be considered within frameworks of ‘national’ thinking then developing in the theatre-going society of Georgian London. By focusing on four key areas: war, union, bardolatry and developments in the genre of English opera itself, the ways in which these tropes both influenced and were influenced by the performance of music drama will take centre stage.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: James D C Shearer
Date Deposited: 19 May 2014 12:33
Last Modified: 19 May 2014 12:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6156

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