Bodily Charm: Living Opera

University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
back to books

Bodily Charm: Living Opera

Positioning itself within the debates on “body criticism” from the 1990s and the more recent work on opera as performance, this book is a passionate defense of opera as a living as well as live art, not intended to be mediated by technology. Written by a literary theorist and a physician, it is an interdisciplinary exploration of the operatic body—both the actual physical bodies of the singers and audience members and the represented, dramatized bodies of stage in such operas as Death in Venice, Salome, Rigoletto, Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Elektra. Opera, it argues, is an exuberantly embodied dramatic art form, Dionysian in its performative and corporeal excess.

Table of Contents

Before We Begin . . .
An Introductory Note on the Operatic Body in Context

Restoring Opera's Bodies

Act I: Represented Bodies
The Body Beautiful
The Body Dangerous

Act II: Real Bodies
The Performing Body
The Perceiving Body

A Toast to Opera's Bodies