Opera indigene: re/presenting first nations and indigenous cultures

Karantonis, P and Robinson, D (2011) Opera indigene: re/presenting first nations and indigenous cultures. Ashgate, Farnham. ISBN 9780754669890


Edited by Karantonis and Robinson. The representation of non-Western cultures in opera has long been a focus of critical inquiry. Within this field, the diverse relationships between opera and First Nations and indigenous cultures, however, have received far less attention. "Opera Indigene" takes this subject as its focus, addressing the changing historical depictions of indigenous cultures in opera and the more contemporary hybridizations of the form by indigenous and First Nations artists. The use of 're/presenting' in the title signals an important distinction between how representations of indigenous identity have been constructed in opera by non-indigenous artists, and how indigenous artists have more recently utilized opera as an interface to present and develop their cultural practices. The volume explores how operas on indigenous subjects reflect the evolving relationships between indigenous peoples, the colonizing forces of imperial power, and forms of internal colonization in developing nation-states. Drawing upon postcolonial theory, ethnomusicology, cultural geography and critical discourses on nationalism and multiculturalism, the collection brings together experts on opera and music in Canada, the Americas and Australia in a stimulating comparative study of indigenous operatic re/presentation.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information:

This chapter appears in a volume I co-edited that grew from a conference I co-convened at King’s College London, in September 2008, ‘Opera Indigene – Critical Re/presentations of First Nations and Indigenous Cultures’. This was given support by the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (University of Sussex) and a grant from the Music and Letters Trust. One of our Australia contributors received an Australian Research Council grant to write her chapter. I also contributed the final section of the book – an interview with composer-singer Deborah Cheetham, whose opera Pecan Summer was the subject of international media attention, including an interview with Andrew Marr for BBC radio in March 2012. Some review extracts: “As a whole, this collection makes a significant contribution in several areas […] many of the essays provide examples of serious engagement with postcolonial modes of critique, a relatively undeveloped approach in music studies. Most of the chapters are written in an accessible style that eschews jargon, making them especially appropriate for classroom use at all levels” (Thomas Solomon, University of Bergen in Journal of Folklore Research Reviews). “This ground-breaking book seeks to compare processes of representation used in operas on Indigenous subjects in abroad range of international settings […] This is a timely book posing questions and comparing results from different times and cultures […] As such, it is an important addition to the growing literature considering representation of culture in artistic expression”. (Review by Anthony Linden Jones Music Forum - Journal of the Music Council of Australia, Vol 19 no 1, Summer 2012).

Keywords: Indigenous peoples in opera.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2013 10:58
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 14:06
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