Opera from the Greek: Studies in the Poetics of Appropriation
Michael Ewans explores how classical Greek tragedy and epic poetry have been appropriated in opera, through eight selected case studies. These range from Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, drawn from Homer's Odyssey, to Mark-Antony Turnage's Greek, based on Sophocles' Oedipus the King. Choices have been based on an understanding that the relationship between each of the operas and their Greek source texts raise significant issues, involving an examination of the process by which the librettist creates a new text for the opera, and the crucial insights into the nature of the drama that are bestowed by the composer's musical setting. Ewans examines the issues through a comparative analysis of significant divergences of plot, character and dramatic strategy between source text, libretto and opera.
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