chapter  14
13 Pages

Empire and ‘Orient’ in Opera Libretti set by Sir Henry Bishop and Edward Solomon

This chapter draws on theories of orientalist discourse in an exploration of libretti on 'Oriental', and primarily Indian, themes dating from the 1820s and 90s respectively, set by two prominent nineteenth-century English opera composers – Sir Henry Bishop (1786–1855) and Edward Solomon (1855–95). This chapter, Edward Solomon defines imperialism as the system, concepts, and viewpoints of one culture governing a separate (and normally distant) culture, and for him colonialism, usually a consequence of imperialism, is the establishment of permanent communities in such territories. A commonly employed denotation of imperialism 'concerns the ideology or range of ideological positions which supported and enabled the establishment and spread of imperial rule. Henry Rowley Bishop composed more than sixty operas, and in 1842, at the suggestion of Prince Albert, he had the honour of being the first musician in Britain to be awarded a knighthood by a British monarch.