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Hearing the Crimean WarWartime Sound and the Unmaking of Sense$
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Gavin Williams

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190916749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190916749.001.0001

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Operatic Battlefields, Theater of War

Operatic Battlefields, Theater of War

(p.175) 8 Operatic Battlefields, Theater of War
Hearing the Crimean War

Flora Willson

Oxford University Press

Willson’s chapter explores how opera inflected listening for British officers and tourists in and near Crimea: in particular it discusses operatic perceptions in the Pera district of Constantinople, the site of the city’s first opera house, as well as ways of listening to traveling military bands connected with the Ottoman imperial court. It also examines European elites’ perceptions of foreign battlefields and cityscapes, with the aim of examining a larger shift in the history of listening: that of middle-class audiences falling silent in theatrical spaces during the nineteenth century, supposedly to devote more concentrated attention to elite music. The chapter argues that these listening habits, formed in part in the opera house, persisted well beyond its hallowed enclosures when war came to extend the complex geographies of attentive listening.

Keywords:   listening, Italian opera, operatic mobilities, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire

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