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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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(p.389) Conclusion
The Singing Turk

Larry Wolff

Stanford University Press

The conclusion argues that the singing Turk, beginning with the figure of Bajazet in captivity, participated in a discourse of absolute power and political abjection, exploring issues of sovereignty that were deeply relevant for European princes. The singing Turk could also reflect the magnanimity of princes across Europe, from Rameau in Paris in the 1730s to Mozart in Vienna in the 1780s, contributing musically to a discourse about enlightened absolutism as embodied in the figure of the Generous Turk. The musical expression of extreme emotions—especially rage, as in the case of Mozart’s Osmin—was seen as closely related to the presumptions and frustrations of absolute power. The musical mastery of operatic emotions contributed to a discourse on the civilizing process, with Turkishness posing questions of civilization that were thoroughly relevant to Europe. The singing Turk must be understood and interpreted in the historical context of European-Ottoman relations.

Keywords:   absolutism, Bajazet, civilization, emotions, Enlightenment, Janissary style (alla turca), Mozart, Osmin (Abduction), Jean-Philippe Rameau, Le Turc généreux (Rameau)

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