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Difference and OrientationAn Alexander Kluge Reader$
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Alexander Kluge and Richard Langston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739200

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739200.001.0001

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The Opera Machine

The Opera Machine

(p.305) 17 The Opera Machine
Difference and Orientation

Alexander Kluge

, Richard Langston
Cornell University Press

This chapter details the dialogue between Christian Schulte and Alexander Kluge wherein they talked about opera's historical relationship to film. In Kluge's film The Power of Emotions (1983), he describes opera as a power station of emotions. He uses this image to talk about the nineteenth century, while in the first half of the twentieth century film took on the role of mobilizing and connecting the masses. He further explains that opera is a power station of emotions in the rather extreme sense insofar as it vicariously carries out emotional waste removal without actually being the power station. The power is generated elsewhere. Kluge then agrees that the opera is primarily defined through tragedy and fundamentally follows victim logic. When watching opera, the audience mainly watches a victim. In almost every opera one can make out a victim somewhere. This is a ritual in opera. One can also find mourning that comes with sacrifice as well as consolation. In this respect, the original, seventeenth-century operas were cast from the same rigid mold, one that cannot be changed for entertainment's sake.

Keywords:   Christian Schulte, Alexander Kluge, opera, film, emotions, emotional waste, tragedy, victim logic

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