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The Singing TurkOttoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon$
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Larry Wolff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795777

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795777.001.0001

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The Decline and Disappearance of the Singing Turk

The Decline and Disappearance of the Singing Turk

Ottoman Reform, the Eastern Question, and the European Operatic Repertory

(p.359) 12 The Decline and Disappearance of the Singing Turk
The Singing Turk

Larry Wolff

Stanford University Press

This chapter considers European opera after Rossini and the waning presence of Turkish figures and themes in nineteenth-century opera. Ottoman reform under Mahmud II and Abdülmecid I (including the reform of Ottoman music, led by “Donizetti Pasha,” the brother of the famous composer), brought about some cultural convergence with Europe. At the same time the modern Eastern Question transformed European-Ottoman relations into an unoperatic calculus of the balance of power, and introduced modern European colonialism in the Ottoman lands, beginning with the French seizure of Algeria in 1830. The presence of the singing Turk in the operatic repertory became less and less viable, as was notably apparent in the cases of Verdi’s I Lombardi and Il Corsaro in the 1840s. The chapter concludes by observing subliminal traces of Turkishness in the modern operatic repertory without Turks and the lingering presence of Turkishness in ballet and operetta.

Keywords:   Abdülmecid I, ballet, Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Donizetti (Donizetti Pasha), Eastern Question, Albert Lortzing, Mahmud II, operetta, Ottoman reform (Tanzimat), Giuseppe Verdi

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