Aida and the Empire of Emotions (Theodor W. Adorno, Edward Said, and Alexander Kluge)

Goehr, Lydia

This essay investigates how Theodor W. Adorno, Edward Said, and Alexander Kluge read Verdi's opera Aida with respect to the theme of being buried alive, where being buried alive can occur not only to characters in an opera but, according to a discourse of fate, also to the opera itself. To write about being buried alive but living as it were tot tell the tale, the three critics ask whether a residue of resistance in the opera remains that allows the opera to escape a totalizing discourse of fate or fatality that threatens to destroy it. Goehr begins by presenting the more familiar views of Adorno and Said, although hopefully in a new light. After, Goehr presents and develops the less familiar view (in an Anglo-American musicological context) of the Frankfurt filmmaker and critical theorist, Alexander Kluge.


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October 10, 2014