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Gustavo Gutiérrez Meets Giuseppe Verdi: The Beauty of Liberation and the Liberation of Beauty

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Abstract Some have criticized the theology of liberation, especially its Latin American form, for emphasizing ethical concerns while ignoring the aesthetic dimension of Christian faith. At the same time, many see the fine arts—and particularly opera—as unrelated and even opposed to the struggle for justice today. This essay considers the case of liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez and his debt to fellow Peruvian and novelist José María Arguedas. It then examines the ethical import of one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous creations, the enslaved princess Aida. Both Gutiérrez and Verdi may be said to belong to what Arguedas called the “fraternity of the broken-hearted” whose members glimpse a new world coming into being in the very beauty of liberated humanity.

Affiliations: 1: College of the Holy Cross


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