Orientalism & Opera
September 22, 2019
I grew up playing the piano and studying music history, but never critically thought about the fact that we see Arabs portrayed in opera all the time. So I asked: what motivates this type of musical Orientalism? And how is it different than depictions present in better-documented media such as painting, literature, drama, and even film?
Most importantly: how have Orientalist depictions in music contributed to the development and understanding of Western culture, and even Arab culture generally?
This talk focuses on the presence of Orientalism and depictions of the Arab world in Western classical music, focusing on opera.
Sources & Future References
Edward Said, Culture & Imperialism, "The Empire at Work: Verdi's Aida," https://janeaustensummer.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/culture_and_imperialism.pdf
Anna Netrebko and Blackface, VAN Magazine, https://van-us.atavist.com/color-blind
1984 film "Amadeus," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FgqBQamzus
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