Democracy at the Opera

Democracy at the Opera : Music, Theater, and Culture in New York City, 1815-60

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Was there opera - and just what was it like - in New York City before the advent of the Metropolitan Opera Company? In exploring these questions, Karen Ahlquist describes the social, cultural, economic, and esthetic factors that led to the assimilation of Italian opera - a complex, expensive genre of elitist reputation - into New York's business oriented community, with its English cultural heritage and sacred republican traditions. In her lively description of opera as few today can imagine it, Ahlquist considers Jacksonian-era efforts to create a polite social setting, the influence of a socially based clash between respectability and broad public access, and the role of music in shaping, not just reflecting, social and cultural life.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 160 x 237 x 26.7mm | 636.99g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, facsim.,music,plans
  • 0252022726
  • 9780252022722

Review quote

"Embedding opera in theater and theater in culture, Democracy at the Opera skillfully makes its way through the wide range of biases characterizing press coverage of antebellum theater, offering students of nineteenth-century America a wholly readable and musicologically informed cultural history." -- Rosemarie K. Bank, The Journal of American History
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