AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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Staging Opera

What follows is a guest post by Andrew Huddleston. Andrew is Michael Cohen Career Development Fellow in Philosophy at Exeter College, Oxford. He works primarily in 19th Century European philosophy (especially Nietzsche) and in ethics and social philosophy in addition to aesthetics. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, the British Journal of Aesthetics, the Philosophical QuarterlyPhilosophical Studies, and several OUP volumes.

I am going to use my platform here to try out a brief venture in applied aesthetics, with a dash of polemicism and cultural criticism. I’d like to think about opera staging, in particular the phenomenon of avant-garde productions, of the sort that are common in Germany especially. These are the kind that present the opera in non-traditional ways, not just by altering its costuming and setting (a fairly tame and widespread practice), but by diverging far more drastically from what the text, stage directions, and past performance practice would lead one to expect. 

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