Puccini, in the distance

Arman Schwartz

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay charts the contours of a ‘second practice’ in Puccini's corpus. Whereas his operas from the 1890s are fuelled by a longing for unmediated access to empirical reality, his later works unleash a variety of distant sounds that unsettle the aesthetics of verismo opera. These sounds, which draw on the ontology of wireless transmission just as surely as his earlier works do on that of phonographic transcription, find their fullest expression in Suor Angelica. The notorious Marian apparition that concludes that opera has long been mocked and explained away, and no wonder: for, if we attempt to take the miracle seriously, we may (like Puccini himself, in the years following Madama Butterfly) begin to doubt whether modernism ever was an art of confidence and disenchantment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-189
JournalCambridge Opera Journal
Issue number03
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


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