Chapter

Reading Opera for the Plot

Jessica Waldoff

in Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195151978
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870387 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151978.003.0004
Reading Opera for the Plot

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This chapter takes up the question of how an individual event, such as a recognition scene, functions with respect to the operatic plot as a whole. It explores the notion of plot in critical works ranging from Aristotle's Poetics to Peter Brooks's Reading for the Plot, and differentiates plot from plotting. Plot in Aristotle's definition is static, “the structure of the events”, while plotting, according to Brooks, is active — the dynamic process that propels the work forward. The chapter illustrates the interaction of recognition and “operatic plotting” with a detailed consideration of the multiple plot of Le nozze di Figaro. Attention is given to prominent moments of recognition, including the dénouement in the Act IV finale. The last section of this chapter is devoted to comments about plot dramaturgy in Mozart's letters.

Keywords: plotting; Aristotle; Peter Brooks; multiple plot; Le nozze di Figaro; dramaturgy; Mozart's letters

Chapter.  11866 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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