Both in opera studies and in most operatic works, the singing body is often taken for granted. In Postopera: Reinventing the Voice-Body, Jelena Novak reintroduces an awareness of the physicality of the singing body to opera studies. Arguing that the voice-body relationship itself is a producer of meaning, she furthermore posits this relationship as one of the major driving forces in recent opera. She takes as her focus six contemporary operas - La Belle et la Bête (Philip Glass), Writing to Vermeer (Louis Andriessen, Peter Greenaway), Three Tales (Steve Reich, Beryl Korot), One (Michel van der Aa), Homeland (Laurie Anderson), and La Commedia (Louis Andriessen, Hal Hartley) - which she terms 'postoperas'. These pieces are sites for creative exploration, where the boundaries of the opera world are stretched. Central to this is the impact of new media, a de-synchronization between image and sound, or a redefinition of body-voice-gender relationships. Novak dissects the singing body as a set of rules, protocols, effects, and strategies. That dissection shows how the singing body acts within the world of opera, what interventions it makes, and how it constitutes opera’s meanings.

part I|37 pages

Focusing on Body Singing

chapter 1|16 pages

Postopera and Vocalic Body

part II|37 pages

Voices beyond Corporeality

chapter 3|16 pages

Singing Beyond the Body

Uniqueness, Intruder, and Prosthesis

chapter 4|20 pages

Monstrous Singing

The Politics of Vocal Existence

part III|33 pages

Throwing the Voice, Catching the Body

chapter 5|14 pages

Operatizing the Film

Body Without Voice and Voice Without Body

part IV|43 pages

Singing Gender as a Performance