Melodrama: An Aesthetics of Impossibility
Jonathan Goldberg is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English at Emory University and the author of several books, most recently
Agency and Identity: The Melodram in Beethoven’s Fidelio
This chapter examines an anomalous moment in Beethoven’s opera, the one place where speaking voice is accompanied by music (a combination that defines melodrama). It suggests that the inventiveness of this moment does not so much suggest a way beyond the political impasses of gender on which the situation of the opera depends as offer other, queer ways to see beyond the dilemma of the opera in which agency is limited by a constrained sense of gender difference.