Western scholars and critics often discuss an inherent antagonism between language and music in Western opera. Poizat explains:
Inevitably, if the work is beautiful and the interpretation good, certain passages will wrest your attention from the printed words: you lean back in your chair and lose yourself in listening, oblivious for all the world to the printed text. It is then that the libretto drops out of your hands. The attitude is in conflict with your original project of listening attentively to the verbal exchange, as it is precisely at these powerful moments, when the singer’s expressive qualities and the meaning of the words ought to come together in the deepest sense, that you should be most attentive to the literary text. Yet somehow you feel a radical antagonism between letting yourself be swept away by the emotion and applying yourself to the meaning of each word as it is sung. You must choose; and if for example the demands of scholarship make it essential that you follow the text word for word, you can do so only at great expense in terms of concentrated effort and lost jouissance.