France's fleeing royal couple was captured in the summer of 1791. At the same time in Vienna, Mozart was working on a coronation opera for his Kaiser Leopold II. The opera praises the monarch, who shows mercy to his opponents. Ivan Nagel's compact book compares the music and text of Mozart's opera seria, opera buffa and singspiel. He investigates whether the great opera of royal pardon and mercy, opera seria, is still possible in a world that no longer believes in divinely ordained rulers. Nagel's attempt to create a typology of Mozart's operas is simultaneously an excellent analysis of the end of the eighteenth century and of its growing disbelief in divine or royal authority and goodness.
Autonomy and Mercy
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