The Aura of Opera Reproduced: Phantasies and Traps in the Age of the Cinecast

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Aiming to contribute to the debate on the relationship between opera and screen media, I begin this article with a few questions regarding the aesthetic and political implications of technological reproduction. Against this background, I examine and critique the paradox that pervades our media-saturated culture in which the remediation of musical-theatrical works is often encouraged and praised as a means of fostering, rather than of questioning, a sense of authenticity, uniqueness, and presence associated with originality. This will lead me to the analysis of three objects in which this paradox, which is bound up with a blend of nostalgia and urge for excess, finds three paradigmatic instances. Picking up on the discussion of the third of these cases, in which the phenomenon of opera cinecasts takes central stage, I close the article with a critical reflection on the challenge inherent in recording and broadcasting opera stage productions. In this context, my main goal will be to suggest ways of avoiding the fetishism of liveness that tends to infiltrate the debate on the remediation of opera without falling into the trap of dichotomizing mediatization and liveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-283
Number of pages18
JournalOpera Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2019


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