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Singing Of Conquest? Opera, History, And The Ambiguities Of European Imperialism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents certain preliminary remarks related to an analysis of the problem whether free access to the past can be considered part of the phenomenon of the European history opera. With the numerical growth of the European middle class, from the late eighteenth century onwards, and with the cultural changes that accompanied it, attending the opera became a popular pastime. The author notes that in studying history opera - indeed, in studying the melodramatic genre as such - a strange phenomenon has occurred. Th history opera, too, offered its audience not access to 'the' past as it was reconstructed by historians, but to 'a' past that recreated a specific vision of the present.

Keywords: European imperialism; European middle class; history opera; nineteenth century



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