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Title: From source to stage : representations of disability and degeneration in Franz Schreker's 'Die Gezeichneten' and Alexander Zemlinsky's 'Der Zwerg'
Author: Armstrong, Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 9349 220X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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Addressing the dearth of critical engagement between opera studies and disability studies, this thesis situates the representation of disability in Franz Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and Alexander Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg within a broader narrative of social, political and cultural upheaval in which both composers and their works were condemned as ‘degenerate’. The operas’ disabled protagonists reflect the growing prevalence of distinctly physical and, by association, visible manifestations of disability in modernist opera, which represents a wider tendency towards the ‘enfreakment’ of disability by artists and writers as a means through which to represent their own outsider identity. Disability’s figurative potential throughout literary and broader cultural history has been demonstrated within disability studies, and the use of the disabled body as a symbol of personal and social upheaval is a narrative device that maintains popularity today. As such, a fundamental tenet in this thesis is that the metaphorisation of disability in Die Gezeichneten and Der Zwerg is not only (historically) texted, but also (presently) performed. Having laid the foundations for and put forward my central argument – that the operas use disability as a metaphor for outsider identity – in Chapters One and Two, the latter half of this thesis critically assesses several contemporary productions of the operas, each of which are associated with the Regietheater tradition. Here, I interrogate diverse aspects of mise-en-scène, illuminating broader and heretofore overlooked issues surrounding the politics and practice of (re)interpreting physical disability and historical ideology on opera stages today. In tracing the representation of disability and degeneracy from source to stage, this thesis constitutes one of the first investigations into the ways in which disability is imagined and depicted in Die Gezeichneten and Der Zwerg, illuminates the critical potential of disability studies as a perspective from which to study opera and responds to the calls of opera and performance studies scholars to locate and implement new modes of reading both opera and disability in performance.
Supervisor: Sheil, Áine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available