Brecht's Legacy for Opera

Joy H. Calico

in Brecht at the Opera

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254824
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942813 | DOI:
Brecht's Legacy for Opera

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Opera is indebted to Bertolt Brecht. The evidence lies not in librettos and scores but in production, stagecraft, direction, and mise-en-scène and in their effect on the spectating audience member. A stage director, whose work has been informed by Brecht's audience theory, shapes the experience of attending an opera performance in present times. In this context estrangement is an instrument of Brecht's minor pedagogy, a means of empowering the audience in its engagement with conventional bourgeois theater repertoire. Major pedagogy transforms the spectator into a spect-actor, a subject with agency that extends well beyond the theater, and this is the agenda most often associated with Brecht. It is not necessarily applicable in all theater contexts, however, and the comparatively modest mission of minor pedagogy via estrangement is custom-made for canonical opera.

Keywords: Brecht; pedagogy; spectator; theater; canon

Chapter.  10331 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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