Experimenting with Opera in the Twenty-First Century

Abstract:  The historiczing approach to art in the late twentieth century brought to the surface a less obvious characteristic of generic forms: the fact that they do not simply vanish but metamorphose or merge with other genres.

Opera had long been considered a dead genre, incompatible with the modern world, when postmodernist composers, such as Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen or John Adams set out to reform its conventions and modes of representation. Whether inspired from the immediate reality, from history or from other texts, opera advanced to the centre of postmodernist concerns. The innovations were so radical that the name of this musical genre had to be changed: disk opera, postmodern metamusic (commentary on Dante’s poem), music theatre, or postopera. 

Our approach to Louis Andriessen’s La Commedia, which refurbishes Dante’s famous Divine Comedy, emphasizes semiotic aspects, intertextuality, generic hybridity and multimodal representation.

      Keywords: Louis Andriessen, La Commedia,  metamusic, intertextuality, film opera, post opera

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