A Poetics of Handel's Operas


A Poetics of Handel's Operas

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 03/17/2023
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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What should we consider when thinking about the relationship between an onstage performance and the story the performance tells? A Poetics of Handel's Operas explores this question by analyzing the narratives of Handel's operas in relation to the rich representational fabric of performance used to convey them. Nathan Link notes that in most storytelling genres, the audience can naturally discern between a story and the way that story is represented: with film, for example, the viewer would recognize that a character hears neither her own voiceover nor the ambient music that accompanies it, whereas in discussions of opera, some audiences may be distracted by the seemingly artificial nature of such conventions as characters singing their dialogue. Link proposes that when engaging with opera, distinguishing between the performance we see and hear on the stage and the story represented offers a meaningful approach to engaging with and interpreting the work.

Handel's operas are today the most-performed works in the Baroque opera seria tradition. This genre, with its intricate dramaturgy and esoteric conventions, stands to gain much from an investigation into the relationships between the onstage performance and the story to which that performance directs us. In his analysis, Link offers theoretical studies on opera and narratological theories of literature, drama, and film, providing rich engagement with Handel's work and what it conveys about the relationship between text, story, and performance.

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