English Theatre Culture 1660–1737 

Music and Musical Genres of English Restoration Theatre

12 October 2020 (online)

seminar convenor: Klára Škrobánková (Masaryk University, CZ)

keynote speaker: Prof. Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Syracuse University, USA) 

Monday, October 12

4pm (GMT+2): Plenary Lecture: Amanda Eubanks Winkler (Syracuse University, USA): ‘Syncopated Time: Staging the Restoration Tempest

5pm (GMT+2): Break (30 minutes)

5.30pm (GMT+2): Seminar: ‘Music and Musical Genres of English Restoration Theatre’ – Part One

1) Dóra Janczer Csikós (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary): ‘“In the Canaries/There is a Famous Theatre Established” Opera Seria in England: The Italian View’

2) Andrew Walkling (Binghamton University, USA): ‘Diegetic Supernaturalism and the Origins of Dramatick Opera’

6.15pm (GMT+2): Break (15 minutes)

6.30pm (GMT+2): Seminar: ‘Music and Musical Genres of English Restoration Theatre’ – Part Two + final discussion

3) JoAnn Taricani (University of Washington, USA): ‘The Metamorphosis of a Dragon’s Tail: From Restoration Ballad to Operatic Allegory’

4) Stacey Jocoy (Texas Tech University, USA): ‘Quodlibet or Cantata? Captain Macheath’s Execution Lament in The Beggar’s Opera

Please dowload a handout prepared by Assoc. Prof Jocoy.

8pm (GMT+2): Conclusion

“OUR Scenes no soft Italian Air dispense;

Guiltless of Meaning; Innocent of Sense:
But lo! a Feast! for British palates fit!
’Tis Purcell’s Music, serv’d with Dryden’s Wit!”

(Sterling’s Prologue to King Arthur, or Merlin, the British Enchanter, 1736)

During the English Restoration, music belonged to one of the most popular features of culture. It pervaded many theatrical genres, everyday life as well as the royal court. At the beginning of the 18th century, England became a staggiona for the transnational Italian opera, which greatly influenced the course of English musical history. Despite being greatly criticised, mocked and satirized, Italian opera influenced many composers and writers, leaving its marks on the Restorations stages. Although English dramatick opera has been called “a parochial affair” (Michael Burden, The Cambridge Companion to Eighteen-Century Opera), the genre deserves an even-handed critical attention as a major theatrical culture spanning more than a century with stages reaching well beyond London and Dublin. This seminar aims to discuss the many faces of Restoration dramatic music with a special attention to English opera, its sources and inspirations, the many forms it adopted at the British Isles as well as its connections with musical comedies, ballad-operas and masques.

We welcome papers on Restoration theatre music, opera and other musical genres, with topics including (but are not limited to):

  • Italian opera in England – appropriations and inspirations;
  • establishment of English operatic tradition and the issue of nationalism, the importance of masques;
  • operatic revisions and adaptations of 17th and 18th century English drama (Shadwell, Davenant, H. and D. Purcell, Lampe, Arne, and others);
  • dramatick opera, dialogue-opera, and their position within the Restoration repertoires;
  • ballad-operas and their influence on the continent (i. e. German and Austrian singspiel);
  • popular song and its significance for Restoration music and drama;
  • burletta and ballad-opera – short-lived genres or long-lasting inspirations;
  • performances of Restoration operas in modern times.

We welcome a variety of paper formats, from short interventions and notes, to full conference papers. We expect that accepted papers or paper theses should be pre-circulated to seminar participants in advance. The format of the seminar will be a moderated discussion based on the pre-circulated contributions and short (up to 10 minute) presentations of their main thesis on the day.

Please send your abstract (of no more than 250 words) to klara.skrobankova@mail.muni.cz by September 15, 2020.

Registered, non-presenting auditors are welcome.

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