Paradoxes of art time in opera of the XIX century

Denisov, Andrei Vladimirovich
D.Sc., Professor, Department of Foreign Music History St. Petersburg Conservatory named by N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The presentation examines situations anachronism, where the musical solution in the musical theatre does not correspond to the historical time of the plotline. The reasons of it are different: mistake of the author, no relevance for him the problem of historical color, special art tasks. The types of anachronism can be classified as follows: I. Generalized: (1) by genre — in Der Rosenkavalier Richard Strauss repeatedly presents a waltz, although the genre had not yet existed in the 1740s, the time of the action of the opera's plotline; (2) style — in the wedding scene of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, the sound of the organ was brought in, although the instrument could not have appeared in the 10th century AD in such a capacity. II. Specific: the material of a well-defined work (for example, in the form of a musical quotation) written later than the time of the action — at the beginning and end of Robert Schumann’s opera Genoveva a Protestant chorale is sung, although the plot takes place in the Middle Ages. In addition, it is necessary to distinguish between situations where the sounding musical material is included in the context of the action (for example, a dance or song could be performed by the protagonists of the opera themselves), or is not directly related to it, forming a commenting external plan. It is significant that the situations of anachronism (in its different versions) have numerous examples in 19th century operas. In the 17th and 18th centuries representation of the local and/or historical plan of action usually did not provide great difficulty for the composers. Only in later times did composers become especially acutely aware of the issue of reliability of the musical manifestation of the place and time indicated in the plotline. Nonetheless, the decisive choice was often made by them in favor of a not absolutely accurate correspondence, but rather in favor of artistic considerations. As a result, an anachronism, even if it appeared as a clear mistake, sometimes acquireed rather unexpected semantic possibilities.

Keywords: paradox, time, plot, libretto, action, opera, anachronism