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Recognition in Mozart's Operas$
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Jessica Waldoff

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151978.001.0001

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Recognition Scenes in Theory and Practice

Recognition Scenes in Theory and Practice

(p.44) 2 Recognition Scenes in Theory and Practice
Recognition in Mozart's Operas

Jessica Waldoff

Oxford University Press

This chapter opens with a review of critical thinking about recognition in literary genres, beginning with Aristotle. This historical context is indispensable, though, as Terence Cave suggests, an understanding of recognition can be limited neither to Aristotle nor to its role in the literatures he knew and favored. An overview of recognition in Mozart's operas follows, focusing on topics of special interest: the recognition of identity and its status in Mozart's day (as opposed to Aristotle's), the role of disguise and its revelation, the quest for self-discovery, and the conventions of ending (including the relationship between dénouement and lieto fine). Scenes receiving critical consideration and musical analysis include the recognition scene of father and son in Idomeneo, the ending of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Pamina's attempted suicide in Die Zauberflöte.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Terence Cave, identity, disguise, self-discovery, dénouement, lieto fine, Idomeneo, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflöte

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