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  • Cited by 6
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2016
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Book description

In Technology and the Diva, Karen Henson brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the neglected subject of opera and technology. Their essays focus on the operatic soprano and her relationships with technology from the heyday of Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s to the twenty-first-century digital age. The authors pay particular attention to the soprano in her larger than life form, as the 'diva', and they consider how her voice and allure have been created by technologies and media including stagecraft and theatrical lighting, journalism, the telephone, sound recording, and visual media from the painted portrait to the high definition simulcast. In doing so, the authors experiment with new approaches to the female singer, to opera in the modern - and post-modern - eras, and to the often controversial subject of opera's involvement with technology and technological innovation.


'Is a 'diva' a coddled megastar, or an archetype of female power? Is 'technology' a euphemism for the modern world's threat to artistic tradition, or a synonym for craft and innovation? The essays in this book will leave opera-lovers questioning their assumptions - and turning the page to read more.'

Anne Midgette - classical music critic, The Washington Post

'What can, what should, technology do for the diva? Can such a starry, extravagant symbol find a place within our imaginings of industrial and post-industrial modernity? This engaging collection of essays, which ranges over two hundred years of opera, offers a fascinating and surprisingly positive answer.'

Roger Parker - King's College London

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