• Charting the Phenomenology of Music. Rhetoresis and Imagery in Opera (Musorgsky and Mozart)

    Miklos Mezosi (see profile)
    Opera--Stage-setting and scenery, Cross-cultural studies, Semiotics, Music and literature, Metaphor
    Item Type:
    Semiotics of opera, 19th century Russian opera, Musical stage, Opera staging, Comparative cultural studies
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    The present paper is part of a complex, interdisciplinary and intermedial, research project based on a closed-reading approach in the philological sense which I am conducting in opera semiotics and literary and philosophical anthropology with the aim to provide a series of interpretations of drama and opera of selected operas of Mozart and plays of Shakespeare, inviting Nietzsche and Kierkegaard as our guides. The term I coined as the ‘phenomenology of music’ refers to the methodology of outward or perceptible indications depicted (or the depictability of such indications) in form(ation)s and configurations related to and conditioned by the musical expression. The findings presented in this paper are intended to serve as a stepstone for close-reading based analyses of other operas. In the first part of this paper I offer a close-reading analysis of a scene from a Musorgsky opera leading us to identify a ‘musical trope’—the musical metaphor—which I will term as the ‘musical synecdoche.’ Musical tropology, likewise metaphor in language, becomes a key tool in approaching the musical work. One of the characteristic elements in the poetic arsenal of Gogol, a technique termed by Boris Eikhenbaum as the ‘Gogolian mask,’ re-appears in Musorgsky's last opera, Khovanshchina, having a musical genre adapt a literary legacy. The second part of the paper is somewhat more pragmatical, insofar it examines opera staging sets—the Figure of the Child from Andrei Tarkovsky’s production of Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov—intending to draw attention to the importance of selecting the right tools in designing the visuality of an opera performance.
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    4 years ago
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