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Opera for the PeopleEnglish-Language Opera and Women Managers in Late 19th-Century America$
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Katherine Preston

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199371655

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199371655.001.0001

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Foreign-Language Opera Is Exclusive; Vernacular Is “For the People”

Foreign-Language Opera Is Exclusive; Vernacular Is “For the People”

(p.154) 3 Foreign-Language Opera Is Exclusive; Vernacular Is “For the People”
Opera for the People

Katherine K. Preston

Oxford University Press

This chapter commences with the Panic of 1873 and its profound impact on operatic production in 1870s America. The failure of Italian- and German-language troupes facilitated the triumph of grand opera in the vernacular—especially the company of Louise Kellogg, which enjoyed extraordinary success during the worst years of the Long Deprecession. Comic opera (including operetta, light opera, and opera bouffe) was important during the period, as were the activities of several pivotal performer/managers (Emily Soldene, Sallie Holman, Alice Oates). Italian- and German-language activity during the late 1870s–1880s and the generally unsettled operatic times of the mid-1880s are covered. During this period German-language opera and its associated principle of cultural uplift first challenged and ultimately replaced Italian-language opera (temporarily) in the American foreign-language market. The chapter ends with the explosion of vernacular-opera activity in the 1880s and the enthusiasm of Americans for all types of opera performed in English.

Keywords:   foreign-language opera, cultural uplift, German-language opera, Italian-language opera, Emily Soldene, Sallie Holman, Alice Oates, Long Depression, Louise Kellogg

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