In Technology and the Diva, Karen Henson brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the neglected subject of opera and technology. Their essays focus on the operatic soprano and her relationships with technology from the heyday of Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s to the twenty-first-century digital age. The authors pay particular attention to the soprano in her larger than life form, as the 'diva', and they consider how her voice and allure have been created by technologies and media including stagecraft and theatrical lighting, journalism, the telephone, sound recording, and visual media from the painted portrait to the high definition simulcast. In doing so, the authors experiment with new approaches to the female singer, to opera in the modern - and post-modern - eras, and to the often controversial subject of opera's involvement with technology and technological innovation.
Karen Henson is Associate Professor at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. She trained at the University of Oxford and in Paris, and her work has been supported by fellowships and awards from The British Academy, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Henson's research focuses on nineteenth-century opera, singers and opera performance, and opera and technology. She is the author of Opera Acts: Singers and Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2015). She is now working on a book about opera and early sound recording.
A chronology Hannah Clancy, David Gutkin and Lucie Vagnerova; Introduction: of modern operatic mythologies and technologies Karen Henson; 1. Mythologies of the diva in nineteenth-century French theater Isabelle Moindrot; 2. Coloratura and technology in the mid nineteenth-century mad scene Sean M. Parr; 3. Photographic diva: Massenet's relationship with the soprano Sibyl Sanderson Karen Henson; 4. 'Pretending to be wicked': divas, technology, and the consumption of Bizet's Carmen Susan Rutherford; 5. The silent diva: Farrar's Carmen Melina Esse; 6. The domestic diva: toward an operatic history of the telephone Lydia Goehr; 7. The absent diva: notes toward a life of Cathy Berberian Arman Schwartz; 8. The televisual apotheosis of the diva in Istvan Szabo's Meeting Venus Heather Hadlock; 9. Diva poses by Anna Netrebko: on the perception of the extraordinary in the twenty-first century Clemens Risi; Afterword: opera, media, technicity Jonathan Sterne.