What people ultimately want from opera, audience research suggests, is to be absorbed in a story that engages their feelings, even moves them deeply, and that may lead them to insights about life and, perhaps, themselves.

How and why can this combination of music and drama do that? What causes people to be moved by opera? How is it that people may become more informed about living and their own lives? Seeing Opera Anew addresses these fundamental questions.

Most approaches to opera present information solely from the humanities, providing musical, literary, and historical interpretations, but this book offers a “stereo” perspective, adding insights from the sciences closely related to human life, including evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience. It can be hoped that academic specialists less familiar with the science will find points of interest in this book’s novel approach, and that open-minded students and inquisitive opera-goers will be stimulated by its “cultural and biological perspective.”

part 1|112 pages

Music-Dramas, Evolutionary Biology, and Psychology

chapter |8 pages

Part 1 Introduction

What Science has to Offer

chapter 1|15 pages


Stories, Singing, and Sexuality

chapter 2|14 pages


Emotion, Music, and Drama

chapter 3|14 pages

L'Elisir d'Amore

Mate Choice, Comedy, and Consonance

chapter 4|15 pages

Le Nozze di Figaro

Marital Commitment and Challenges to It

chapter 5|15 pages

Don Giovanni, Wozzeck

Assessing Adult Character

chapter 6|15 pages

Die Walküre, Simon Boccanegra

Parenting, Power, and Posterity

chapter 7|14 pages

The Tempest, Lear, Falstaff

Aging and Wisdom

part 2|56 pages

Cultural Considerations Regarding Opera

chapter |8 pages

Part 2 Introduction

What is meant by “Culture”

chapter 8|15 pages

Attracting Audiences

War and Peace, Omar, Song from the Uproar

chapter 9|15 pages

Origins and Innovations

Before and After La Bohème (the movie)

chapter 10|16 pages

Affording Extraordinary Experiences

Les Troyens, Akhnaten