In twelve essays, Contemporary Opera in Flux discusses a series of shifts that, taken together, have radically redefined the production and reception of opera. Focusing on productions involving late twentieth- and twenty-first century scores and libretti, the twelve contributors draw on conversations with members of creative teams and studies of archival material, dipping into a historical record that remains in flux as composers, librettists, directors, and designers revisit existing work and create anew. The contributors to this volume push the boundaries of contemporary opera scholarship by examining works that disrupt operatic conventions; tackle sociopolitical issues such as drug trafficking, racial injustice, and cultural trauma; and advance underrepresented works by female, African-American, Asian, and avant-garde composers around the globe.
Contemporary Opera in Flux bridges the gaps between expanding literature on opera, theater, new music, postmodern dramaturgy, and posthuman aesthetics, while also confronting larger questions of identity, representation, and narrative agency that are at the forefront of contemporary music scholarship. This collection of essays engages critically with the past out of a conviction that, amid general public perceptions of opera as anachronistic or elitist, contemporary opera has emerged as an artistic incubator for experimentation.