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Opera has been a ripe topic for critics for centuries. The blend of music, words, and dramaturgy has made for a potent mix of elements on which critics have long delivered judgment. This chapter argues that opera criticism is borne not necessarily out of the act of passing judgment alone but is motivated by numerous social, intellectual, and economic interests. Critics past and present have included composer-critics, dilettantes, and intellectuals, who bring to criticism a variety of approaches and agendas through various media such as books, newspaper articles, and blogs. This chapter discusses cases studies from Britain with representative critics that include John M. Robertson, W. J. Galloway, Ernest Newman, and Barry Millington, while periodicals discussed in detail include the National Reformer, the Sunday Times, and the Speaker.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Opera
EditorsHelen M Greenwald
Place of PublicationNew York NY UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages881 - 898
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780195335538
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

Watt, P. E. (2014). Critics. In H. M. Greenwald (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Opera (pp. 881 - 898). Oxford University Press.