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Explorations of opera by Dr Clair Rowden

2 October 2020

Dr Clair Rowden with two new publications

Two new books exploring the broader history of opera have been published by Dr Clair Rowden.

Carmen Abroad, co-edited with Professor Richard Langham Smith (Royal College of Music) explores the transnational history of the performance and reception of Bizet’s Carmen, providing new understanding of the opera’s enduring, and ever-evolving, presence and popularity.

The book is accompanied by the Leverhulme funded website, Carmen Abroad, which provides broad audiences with an interactive map and timeline of performances of Carmen across the globe in a 70-year period in order to visualise how a work of art moves and transforms (through  translation, adaptation, etc) through time and space.

Opera and Parody in Paris, 1860-1900 is an exploration of press caricatures, cartoons, popular song, staged revue and parodies to discover the role both opera and its parody played within the theatrical, social and wider cultural milieu of Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Carmen Abroad is the first study which takes one much-loved opera to assess the ways in which it was adapted and appropriated for different artistic, political and social ends in different regions of the globe, both by performers and audiences. Opera and Parody, on the other hand, looks at a pervasive yet under-studied cultural and artistic phenomenon in one city to reveal what opera meant for Parisian audiences of all standings, both highbrow and more popular.

Dr Clair Rowden Reader in Musicology

“Opera and its transformations are at the heart of both these books which deal with continuously evolving artistic media that defy traditional notions of authorship associated with artistic products. Opera today is not always perceived as belonging to ‘the people’, but I wanted to show how this has not always been the case, and that opera had real meaning for diverse audiences, not just in Paris but the world over.”

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