A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation: The Case of Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer

Posted on 10, Jun, 2015 in Uncategorized

Courtney W. Howland
A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation
The Case of Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer

LIT Verlag, Berlin–Münster–Wien–Zürich–London

Volume 19 of the Series: Science of Music / Band 19 von der Reihe: Musikwissenschaft
July 28, 2014


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Drawing upon gender studies, musicology, German studies, and literary theory, A Feminist Perspective on Opera Interpretation develops a feminist analytic framework for interpreting opera and for critiquing the usual interpretations of opera, using Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer as a case study. The feminist analysis, in contrast to prior interpretations of Holländer, identifies the intersection of gender and religion as at the core of the opera‘s main woman character, Senta. This analysis allows for recognition of Senta‘s power and moral agency and demonstrates that the theory of interpretation rather than the opera text determines the narrative.
Courtney W. Howland is the inaugural Research Scholar at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Barnard College, Columbia University.

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