Recently, studies of opera, of print culture, and of music in Britain in the long nineteenth century have proliferated. This essay collection explores the multiple point of interaction among these fields. Past scholarship often used print as a simple conduit for information about opera in Britain, but these essays demonstrate that print and opera existed in a more complex symbiosis.
This collection embeds opera within the culture of Britain in the long nineteenth century, a culture inundated by print. The essays explore: how print culture both disseminated and shaped operatic culture; how the businesses of opera production and publishing intertwined; how performers and impresarios used print culture to cultivate their public persona; how issues of nationalism, class, and gender impacted reception in the periodical press; and how opera intertwined with literature, not only drawing source material from novels and plays, but also as a plot element in literary works or as a point of friction in literary circles.
As the growth of digital humanities increases access to print sources, and as opera scholars move away from a focus on operas as isolated works, this study points the way forward to a richer understanding of the intersections between opera and print culture.