love Essay

356 WordsMar 24, 20092 Pages
In his essay, "The Soldier and the Exotic: Operatic Variations on a Theme of Racial Encounter Part 1," James Parakilas illustrates how other forms of exoticism in opera can become staples of Western opera. He uses the example of Bizet's Carmen: This was...a story of impossible love between a soldier in a European army and a woman belonging to an exotic people under occupation by that army. The new theme has since become a cliché, and it is now hard to imagine that the tragic ideology of interracial relations displayed in Carmen was not always present in Western culture. But in opera before Carmen that ideology can hardly be found.[4] Bizet used Spanish gypsy culture to exoticize his opera and in so doing created a common theme in operas today, the idea of complicated interracial love that often does not work out. Where Eastern archetypal characters were created by using Orientalism in opera, a common, dramatic interracial theme was created by using Spanish culture to exoticize Carmen. Today, audiences can see the influence exoticism in opera has had on American musical theater, especially. Often, musicals are modeled after exotic operas. Take Miss Saigon and Madama Butterfly for example. There are plenty of examples of interracial relationships and conflict in musical theater today that may not have existed if exoticism did not give composers the opportunity to play with outside cultural themes and fuse them with our own Western themes. Exoticism has served as a means to create new Western conventions in music and drama. However, exoticism has its limitations as well. Locke claims that although composers may use elements of other cultures to show more universal human themes, audiences do not always recognize these themes as universal. "The surface meaning of the allegory may have continued (and may continue today) to operate separately from the deeper

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