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Countess Almaviva and the carceral redemption: introducing a musical utopia into the prison walls

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Modernity conceived prison as a primary vehicle for the humanization of criminal punishment. Contrarily to this theoretical and normative model, the practice of imprisonment has conserved several elements of the physical and psychological affliction typical of pre-modern forms of criminal retribution. Prison actually embodies a major theme of dystopian fiction because of the useless suffering it somehow implies. Nonetheless, the concrete dystopian experience of incarceration has frequently been challenged by the utopian horizons of opera, which Charles Fourier once conceived as a passionate pivot for social change. From Fidelio to The Shawshank Redemption, opera has represented a utopian wonder of voices that soar "higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. " Surrounded by the walls of prison, opera is not merely a snobbish artistry: it may constitute a real pre-text for the rights and dignity even infamous men and women deserve.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, 'Countess Almaviva and the carceral redemption: introducing a musical utopia into the prison walls' (2010) 21 (2) Utopian Studies 274-292.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/684

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 274

End Page


  • 292

Volume


  • 21

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • United States

Abstract


  • Modernity conceived prison as a primary vehicle for the humanization of criminal punishment. Contrarily to this theoretical and normative model, the practice of imprisonment has conserved several elements of the physical and psychological affliction typical of pre-modern forms of criminal retribution. Prison actually embodies a major theme of dystopian fiction because of the useless suffering it somehow implies. Nonetheless, the concrete dystopian experience of incarceration has frequently been challenged by the utopian horizons of opera, which Charles Fourier once conceived as a passionate pivot for social change. From Fidelio to The Shawshank Redemption, opera has represented a utopian wonder of voices that soar "higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. " Surrounded by the walls of prison, opera is not merely a snobbish artistry: it may constitute a real pre-text for the rights and dignity even infamous men and women deserve.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • L. Gomez Romero, 'Countess Almaviva and the carceral redemption: introducing a musical utopia into the prison walls' (2010) 21 (2) Utopian Studies 274-292.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/684

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 274

End Page


  • 292

Volume


  • 21

Issue


  • 2

Place Of Publication


  • United States