Selected Essays on Opera by Ulrich Weisstein
Ulrich Weisstein, an international authority in the fields of comparative literature and comparative arts, has been a pioneer paving the way for present-day intermedia studies. Among his broad intermedial interests opera has always held a central place. For the first time this volume makes available his major contributions to opera criticism in compact form, thus meeting a serious scholarly demand.
The necessarily stringent selection of essays from Professor Weisstein’s large output on opera, reflecting fifty years of involvement with the genre, is primarily governed by the wish to present texts that are representative of their author’s work and, at the same time, are unlikely to be readily available through other channels. The fourteen essays collected are arranged in chronological order, some of them showing Ulrich Weisstein as an initiator of librettology, others tracing adaptive processes extending from textual sources to final operas, or investigating writer/composer collaborations. Further topics are satirical reflections on operatic activities in early-eighteenth-century Italy and practices of opera censorship, artist operas or definitions of romantic and epic opera. The essays are written in an accessible, essentially non-technical language and are expected to make both a profitable and a pleasurable reading for literary scholars as well as musicologists and general art lovers.