Ottoman legacy and Oriental Self in Serbian opera

Marković, Tatjana (2016) Ottoman legacy and Oriental Self in Serbian opera. Studia Musicologica, 57 (3-4). pp. 391-402. ISSN 1788-6244


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Serbia was an Ottoman province for almost four centuries; after some rebellions, the First and Second Uprising, she received the status of autonomous principality in 1830, and became independent in 1878. Due to the historical and cultural circumstances, the first stage music form was komad s pevanjem (theater play with music numbers), following with the first operas only at the beginning of the twentieth century. Contrary to the usual practice to depict “golden age” of medieval national past, like in many other traditions of national opera, the earliest Serbian operas were dedicated to the recent past and coexistence with Ottomans. Thus the operas Na uranku (At dawn, 1904) by Stanislav Binički (1872–1942), Knez Ivo od Semberije (Prince Ivo of Semberia, 1911) by Isidor Bajić (1878–1915), both based on the libretti by the leading Serbian playwright Branislav Nušić, and also Zulumćar (The Hooligan, librettists: Svetozar Ćorović and Aleksa Šantić, 1927) by Petar Krstić (1877–1957), presented Serbia from the first decades of the nineteenth century. Later Serbian operas, among which is the most significant Koštana (1931, revised in 1940 and 1948) by Petar Konjović (1883–1970), composed after the theatre play under the same name by the author Borisav Stanković, shifts the focus of exoticism, presenting a life of a south-Serbian town in 1880. Local milieu of Vranje is depicted through tragic destiny of an enchanting beauty, a Roma singer Koštana, whose exoticism is coming from her belonging to the undesirable minority. These operas show how the national identity was constructed – by libretto, music and iconography – through Oriental Self. The language (marked by numerous Turkish loan words), musical (self)presentation and visual image of the main characters of the operas are identity signifiers, which show continuity as well as perception of the Ottoman cultural imperial legacy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene
M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene > M10 Theory and philosophy of music / zeneelmélet, muzikológia
Depositing User: László Sallai-Tóth
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 15:21
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2018 23:16

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