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Virtual Opera, or Opera between the Ears

Nicholls, David (2004) Virtual Opera, or Opera between the Ears Journal of the Royal Music Association, 129, (1), pp. 100-142. (doi:10.1093/jrma/129.1.100).

Record type: Article


A number of authors, including John Covach and especially Edward Macan, have investigated the links between art music and progressive rock. This article builds on and extends such work by positing, defining, discussing and dissecting a hybrid genre I term virtual opera. Exemplified by such albums as The Who’s Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Genesis’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) and Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage (1979), each of which is subjected to detailed examination, virtual operas find their ideal site of performance between the ears of individual listeners, rather than on stage or screen. In each case, the aural and visual dimensions of the albums combine to create multi-layered musico-dramatic narratives, freed from the usual performance constraints associated with either opera or rock.

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Published date: 2004


Local EPrints ID: 37503
ISSN: 0269-0403
PURE UUID: 9f5f2512-2c2e-4d39-ac6a-e21368d4d009

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Date deposited: 22 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:42

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