Purcell’s Masques: Controlling Time from Outside of Time

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


‘Dramatick Opera’ and Purcell’s ‘The Fairy Queen’
According to musicologist Joseph Kerman, The fundamental mode of presentation in drama is action, and in musical drama the medium
of imaginative articulation is music. Inevitably the relationship or interplay between these two, action and music, is the perennial central problem of operatic dramaturgy. Throughout history, when composers attempted to establish the relationship between action and music, their solutions tended to relate to one of two opposing poles – idealism and realism.
However, it seems that the accepted narrative of opera history prefers those composers whose solutions tended to realism, or at least hints at the inevitable development from Orfeo to Wozzeck (or Peter Grimes). Even today, when composers are involved in a stage production, the same ancient ‘central problem of operatic dramaturgy’ rises again and keeps sleep from their eyes. How and to what extent should one aim at dramatic coherence and flux?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23–41
JournalMusic and Dance in Time (The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance)
StatePublished - May 2012


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