When we discuss melodramatic figures in enmeshed in a struggle that ends with either lasting happiness or total failure, are we talking about opera—or politics? Over the past 400 years, the two art forms have come of age side by side, and often overlapped. Delving into European music by such greats as Monteverdi, Lully, Rameau, and Mozart, Mitchell Cohen reveals how politics—through story lines, symbols, harmonies, and musical motifs—has played an operatic role both robust and sotto voce.
"Cohen brings a music lover's avidity and scholar's lucidity to the ever-changing relationship between the operatic stage and the political world. His invigorating book gives art and ideology their due—a rare achievement."—Jed Perl