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Robert Ashley$
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Kyle Gann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252035494

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252035494.001.0001

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Oh, How We Misunderstand

Oh, How We Misunderstand


(p.1) 1 Oh, How We Misunderstand
Robert Ashley

Kyle Gann

University of Illinois Press

This chapter is an introduction to the oft-misunderstood opera of Robert Ashley. Ashley's works do not fit the profile of what people generally think of as opera. In his pieces, people sing in a style that resembles speech, and plots are rarely evident in his works. The chapter argues that his works are far more stylistically complex than they initially appear, and that furthermore his oeuvre not only fits the very definition of opera, but even updates it in certain cases. It highlights the unconventionality of his opera and yet situates them squarely among the classical greats. In doing so, the chapter also delves into Ashley's own merits as a composer.

Keywords:   Robert Ashley, opera, unconventional methods, classic opera, composer, speech

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