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Paper Session
Nov 21, 2021 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211121T1300 20211121T1350 America/Chicago Mozart Reception AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org
“Mozart è nostro come è tedesco”: The Mozart Year 1941 in Fascist Italy
Individual Paper 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 19:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 19:50:00 UTC

The 150th anniversary of Mozart's death in 1941 provided an ideal opportunity for Nazi Germany to reassert its cultural hegemony over the "new Europe." The musical institutions of the Third Reich commemorated the event in great style, holding Mozart celebrations during the entire year throughout the Reich, the Axis, and the occupied territories. These celebrations culminated in Vienna with the Mozart Week of the German Reich, a large-scale event whose international significance was intended to strengthen the Reich's reputation abroad and consolidate Hitler's political alliances.

Previous work has focused on the instrumentalization of Mozart under the Third Reich, the political issues underlying the Mozart anniversary, and the impact of the Mozart Week on the cultural politics of newly occupied territories such as France and Belgium (Becker 1992, Loeser 2007, Reitterer 2008, Levi 2010, Benoit-Otis/Quesney 2015, 2016, 2019). The repercussions of the Mozart celebrations in Fascist Italy, however, remain largely unexplored. Drawing from a wide range of German and Italian archival and journalistic sources, this paper examines the Italian reception of the Reich's Mozart Year (with a special focus on the Mozart Week) and reconstructs the Mozart celebrations orchestrated by Fascist authorities in the peninsula.

Italy's surprisingly limited involvement in the Mozart commemorations of 1941 reflects the ambiguity that characterized the relationship between Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy-a partnership permeated by rivalry and ideological tensions (Hoffend 1998, Ben-Ghiat 2002, Reichard 2020). Whereas the Mozart celebrations organized in Italy were intended to publicize the Axis while also bearing witness to Italy's cultural supremacy, the Fascist reception of the Mozart anniversary reveals a great suspicion in the face of such a major display of German hegemony. Resisting the Reich's will to demonstrate its own cultural greatness, Italy subverted the former's discourse and aligned Mozart to its own political agenda by conveying the image of an "Italianized" composer that was hardly compatible with Nazi ideology. Studying Mozart reception in Fascist Italy during the Mozart Year 1941 thus provides new insight on the complex music politics of the Axis, an alliance marked by competing notions of cultural nationalism.

Presenters
MB
Marie-Helene Benoit-Otis
Université De Montréal
GP
Gabrielle Prud'homme
Université De Montréal
“When then will the veil be lifted?”: How Translations Obscure Racism in Productions of _The Magic Flute_
Individual Paper 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 19:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 19:50:00 UTC

There are several elements in the original libretto to _The Magic Flute_ that cause discomfort for modern audiences. Chief among them is the character Monostatos, a Moor who is one of Sarastro's slaves. During the opera's second act, Monostatos watches the princess Pamina sleep. In the aria "Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden," Monostatos declares that "a black person is ugly" before asking the (white) moon to forgive him for desiring the white princess. 


Monostatos was historically played in blackface, and the legacy of this practice, combined with the fact that the scene centers on a lower-class black man contemplating the rape of an upper-class white woman, makes this scene deeply troubling. Opera companies have shied away from this moment in the _The Magic Flute_ for decades, trying to minimize its racist impact, and often eliminating Monostatos's aria out altogether. 


This paper focuses on another tactic that many opera companies have adopted to make _The Magic Flute_ palatable for modern audiences: Monostatos sings his aria in the original German, but with an accompanying English-language translation, in supertitles or subtitles, that minimizes, or even eliminates, references to race. Translation is a powerful tool, capable of bridging the gap between different eras and cultures. At the same time, translation is often perceived as a transparent practice, giving it the ability to obscure and even deceive. Performances that preserve Monostatos's aria, sung in German, allow the text-music relationship in the opera to remain intact and the opera to be performed in full. Adding an overlay of an English translation in which racism has been neutralized smooths over the complex history of this aria, and the opera as a whole, effectively hiding it from monolingual Anglophone audiences. In this paper, I survey a wide selection of productions of _The Magic Flute_ sung in German with English-language supertitles, examining the ethics of the translation decisions that were made in each production, as well as their social and aesthetic implications.


Presenters
LK
Lily Kass
Temple University And The Peabody Institute
The Turkish Opera That Wasn't: Mozart's Zaïde Reconsidered
Individual Paper 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 19:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 19:50:00 UTC

In 1780 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began the composition of a "Turkish" opera, Zaïde, based upon a text entitled Das Serail by Franz Joseph Sebastiani, set to music by Joseph Friebert three years earlier and revised by Mozart family friend Andreas Schachtner. While he may have intended it to be a work for Joseph II's new German Singspiel, the work went against the comic-socially satirical architype. With little comedy, and a plot that featured a serious conflict between the characters, it did not fit the requirements of this venue, but rather was more akin to the social commentary of Voltaire's closely-related but far more tragic Zaïre, for which incidental music by Mozart's colleague Michael Haydn had been composed in 1777. Conventional wisdom regards the work as a sort of forerunner to the more popular Entführung, and in its incomplete state, lacking apparently a final ensemble and overture, if not an entire third act found in the Sebastiani forerunner, it has been overlooked as a torso that the composer abandoned as untenable. This paper seeks to view the work from an entirely different perspective, noting that it contains none of the same musical elements as its successor, but rather appears to be a compendium of ideas and techniques observed by Mozart during his recent travels to Paris and Mannheim. Here, one finds two melodramas, a perfunctory chorus that verges on a folk tune, an aria of intense sarcasm, and others that include arrogant declamation, exuberant joy, deep anger, and intensity that one finds in Mozart's Idomeneo begun the same year and foreign to the usual generic style. This in turn is intended to explain the stylistic experimentalism found in the work, and at the same time offer an alternative explanation both for why this unfinished work remains on the periphery of Mozart's operatic output and why he may have abandoned the work even after so much effort to bring it almost to completion.

Presenters
Bv
Bertil Van Boer
Western Washington University
Western Washington University
Université de Montréal
Temple University and the Peabody Institute
Université de Montréal
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