Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography XXXIV (2009)


Carol Padgham Albrecht, The Face of the Vienna Court Opera, 1804–1805.

The article examines the careers of several of the principal singers at the Court Opera in Vienna in 1804 and 1805. Framing this period were the death of Friedrich Karl Lippert and the serious illness of Theresia Saal, both prominent members of the German Opera Company, and the first French occupation of Vienna during the Napoleonic wars. Theresia Saal, Irene Tomeoni, Therese Rosenbaum, Marianna Sessi, Girolamo Crescentini, and Christina Eigensatz all specialized in different types of roles, encompassing opera buffa, opera seria, and German opera (mostly recent French dramas and comedies in German translation). Most of the women came from families of singers, performing alongside parents, siblings, or children, and although some left the stage when they married, others maintained lifelong careers in the theater.

Theodore Albrecht, Picturing the Players in the Pit: The Orchestra of Vienna’s Kärntnertor Theater, 1821–1822.

On 11 September 1821, the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode published a supplement depicting a new seating arrangement of the orchestra of the Kärntnertor Theater, the home of the Court Opera, together with a guide to instrumental placement and brief rationale for the seating. On 19 September, the Wiener allgemeine musikalische Zeitung published a slightly more extensive rationale, but no illustration. At about the same time (Fall, 1821), there appeared a chart of the audience seating in the Kärntnertor Theater, the type familiar in box offices today when selecting seats for performances. Interestingly, the seating of the orchestra in the pit is also shown with a corresponding guide to instrumental placement printed around the upper tier of balcony seats. Anton Ziegler’s Addressen-Buch von Tonkünstlern (Vienna, 1823) provides a printed roster of the Kärntnertor Theater’s orchestra members in fall 1822, a year after the above diagrams were printed. The 1821/22 season, however, had proven a turbulent one, as the new impresario Domenico Barbaja attempted to dismiss a third of the orchestra’s most experienced personnel. My recent research in Vienna’s Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Stadt- und Landesarchiv, library of the Österreichisches Theatermuseum, and numerous church archives has provided us with biographical sketches of most of the musicians who filled the empty orchestra pit of Vienna’s Court Opera, depicted on the eve of one of the most chaotic periods in its history.

Anita Breckbill, André Gill and Musicians in Paris in the 1860s and 1870s: Caricatures in La Lune and L’Éclipse.

André Gill (1840–1885) produced twenty full-page caricatures related to music, which appeared on front pages of the Parisian newspapers La Lune (1865–1868) and L’Éclipse (1868–1876). Among them were takeoffs on composers (Wagner, Offenbach, Rossini, Auber, Hervé), singers (Hortense Schneider, Adelina Patti, Léa Silly, Marie Sass, Delphine Ugalde, Célestine Galli-Marié, Christine Nilsson, Victor Capoul, Marguerite Macé-Montrouge, José Dupuis, Christian, Anna Judic, Louise Théo) and there are also several group portraits. Iconographic clues in the pictures and evidence from contemporary sources indicate that the publication of each caricature is tied to a contemporaneous event or performance. Freedom of the press in the printed word, of which Paris was justly proud, did not extend to illustrations, and several of the caricatures illuminate issues of censorship in Paris during the time. They also throw light on the reception of composers and singers in Parisian society.

Michael Burden, Imaging Mandane: Character, Costume, Monument.

Thomas Arne’s opera Artaxerxes was the most popular English opera on the eighteenth-century London stage; indeed, no other opera, English or Italian, came even close to equalling its performance record. One of the lynch-pins in the opera’s plot is the character of Mandane, a role for which Thomas Arne provided some florid and vocally complex arias for the singer who created the role, his pupil and (possible) mistress, Charlotte Brent. The popularity of the opera, the dramatic demands of the part of Mandane, and the vocal demands of the character’s arias, combined to build a role that became both a test piece and a showcase for English singers. A number of them, including Anna Maria Crouch and Elizabeth Rainforth, made their debuts in the role.
Many of the singers who sang the part also had their image recorded and then published “in character”, the role then taking on a monumentality which cannot be found in any other role performed in a London opera. This article examines the role of the surviving images—which span a period from the 1760s to the middle of the eighteenth century—in the development of that monumentality. Using details of costume design and gesture, it argues that the way in which the role was exploited for different singers’ personal image-making created a unique interplay between the opera and the role of Mandane, which guaranteed it a place in the repertoire which otherwise consisted of new and novel works.

Margaret R. Butler, “Olivero’s” Painting of Turin’s Teatro Regio: Toward a Reevaluation of an Operatic Emblem.

An untitled painting of Turin’s Teatro Regio, long attributed to Pietro Domenico Olivero (1679–1755) and ubiquitous in literature on opera, supposedly pictures a scene from Francesco Feo’s Arsace, the theater’s inaugural opera seria of 1740. Through its many contemporary reproductions the image has become an emblem of opera broadly conceived. But myths surrounding it and inconsistencies in it obscure an understanding of what it depicts and signifies. This essay affirms the painting’s reattribution to Giovanni Michele Graneri (1708–1762), points out inaccuracies in its representation of the orchestra of 1740, addresses its lack of elaborate stage setting (Turinese opera’s hallmark), explores the significance of the costumes and staging, and reveals the contradiction between the audience’s behavior and the onstage action. I argue that the image depicts a generic opera seria scene rather than a specific one and propose an interpretation of the artwork as an emblem of royal power and hierarchy—an idealized view of a militaristic society and its opera as sponsored and observed by its sovereign.

Laura Citti, The “Messa in scena” of the Casa Musicale Sonzogno: An Iconography of Stage Direction at the End of the Nineteenth Century.

The livrets de mise en scéne, produced in France between 1828 and 1930, became a model for Ricordi’s Disposizioni sceniche (1856–1893), staging manuals describing scenery through plans and diagrams, outlining the entries, exits, gestures, movements and positions of the characters, and providing a list of stage accessories. On the title page these manuals usually indicated the date and location of the described performance. This practice was after Ricordi continued in Italy by the Casa Musicale Sonzogno, which issued between 1894 and 1922 seven Messe in scena manuals. The practice of transcribing the stage of operatic works came to close in the 1920s, when the nineteenth-century idea about the first performance as a reproducible model disappeared in favor of each staging considered to be a new interpretation and creation. Sonzogno’s Messe in scena are a bridge between an iconographic version of the performance and the modern direction. The analysis of examples from Messe in scena for Massenet’s Manon (1894), Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (s.d.), Leoncavallo’s La Bohème (manuscript), Giordano’s Fedora (1899), Mascagni’s Isabeau (1910), and Giordano’s Madame Sans-Gêne (1922) demonstrate the evolution of these manuals from a simple translation of the French livrets de mise en scène to a real stage direction’s book.

Samuel N. Dorf, Seeing Sappho in Paris: Operatic and Choreographic Adaptations of Sapphic Lives and Myths.

Sappho’s oeuvre exists in tantalizing fragments providing fodder for generations of interpreters to reimagine her life and poetry in myriad ways. This paper looks at three Parisian fantasies of Sappho: Charles Gounod’s first opera Sapho (1851 and 1884), Charles Cuvillier’s operetta Sapphô (1912), and the Sapphic music and dramatic activities held in the garden of Natalie Clifford Barney (ca. 1900).
For each of these productions, musical scores provide scant information as to how the authors and performers imagined the myths and lives of Sappho; iconographic sources, however, open doors to new readings, illustrating how these pieces appropriated past Sapphic fictions to create nuanced and often satirical productions.
Gounod’s opera reveals the transformation of Sappho’s image from mid-nineteenth century Hellenism to fin-de-siècle debauchery, as evidenced by differences in costume and set design between the 1851 premiere and the 1884 revival. In addition to expanded roles for the courtesan, the simple classicism of the original production is replaced with a decidedly more decadent décor. In Cuvillier’s operetta, photos published in the journal Le Théâtre provide enough evidence to recreate plot, as well as decipher satirical elements that poke fun at the battle between Cyprian and Hellenic mores despite the lack of a score and libretto for the work. Finally, photographic and anecdotal evidence of Natalie Barney’s queer Sapphic theatrics illustrate the dialectical understanding of early twentieth-century Sappho as emblematic of the refined Hellenism of the mid-nineteenth century and the decadent Orientalism of fin-de-siècle erotic Sapphic fantasies. In all three phenomena visual culture played a privileged role in the reception of musical representations of Sappho histories and fantasies.

Christine Fischer, Engravings of Opera Stage Settings as Festival Books: Thoughts on a New Perspective of Well-Known Sources.

As part of an approach to widen the perspective on the performance practice of opera in the seventeenth and eighteenth century at German courts, iconographical sources of stage design and theater decorations have to be reevaluated. Most of the relevant sources are found either in printed libretti or—less frequently—in printed scores: engravings of the original stage design, in many cases also featuring some of the characters in costumes and their specific gestures and placement on stage.
The value and possible function of these sources in the process of trying to reconstruct the historical performance in question imply methodological questions which still have not been thoroughly dealt with. It is suggested to look at the engravings as part of festival reports, which were made and published in order to convey certain information about a performance, and not to enable the reader to gain an impression of the performance as a whole. They ought consequently to be regarded, in the first place, as documents of how a performance was intended to be experienced and only secondarily, as documents concerning the real stage design and scenery. This approach to the engravings is exemplified with the illustrated score of Maria Antonia Walpurgis’s Talestri, regina delle amazzoni, published in Leipzig in 1765.

Bruno Forment, Trimming Scenic Invention: Oblique Perspective as Poetics of Discipline.

From the 1680s onwards, Ferdinando Galli Bibiena (1657–1743) revolutionized the art of stage design by experimenting with a so-called “manner of seeing scenes from an angle”. The scena per angolo substituted the traditional, single-point perspective with two distance points and worm’s-eye views that rendered architectures in more monumental fashion than ever before. At the same time, the new system’s reliance on backdrops and wings that were placed irregularly, instead of symmetrically, restricted the illusionary compass of perspective to enclosed spaces, rather than “infinite” vistas. It reduced the theater’s optical scope by limiting itself to horizontal slices of earthly reality, devoid of the celestial and infernal.
Especially noteworthy is the fact that vertical descents, especially of dei ex machina, could only be implemented in Bibiena’s schemes at the cost of upsetting vertical proportions. Not that this defect complicated stagings of contemporary Italian opera. Quite the contrary: opera seria’s poetics of verisimilitude chimed perfectly with the phenomenal breadth of two-point perspective. Yet, operatic genres hinging on the marvelous through the deployment of machinery, most notably the tragédie en musique and the various forms of feste, held on to central perspective so as to allow divine descents. Evidence for this intriguing development can be gleaned from a rich array of visual and textual sources.

Desmond Hosford, Anthropomorphic Terror: The Bête-Machine, the Ballet de Cour, and the Tragédie en Musique.

In the Discours de la méthode (1637), René Descartes declared that the actions of animals are mere reflexes of “la nature qui agit en eux, selon la disposition de leurs organes: ainsi qu’on voit qu’un horloge, qui n’est composé que de roues et de ressorts”. This well-known notion of the “bête-machine” has bolstered the view that in early modern France, animals were regarded as soulless creatures intended by God for human use, entertainment, and consumption. However, the theriophilic writings of Michel de Montaigne, among others, coupled with a large corpus of anthropomorphic literature, visual art, and conventions of sociability, reveal that the anthropocentrism of seventeenth-century France was neither wholly Cartesian nor concretely established. Instead there was apprehension over the distinction between human and non-human animals and their relative status. This was manifested in the ballet de cour and the tragédie en musique where the bête-machine functioned as a site of anthropomorphic transformation. Despite the Cartesian arrogance by which animal-machines should have been easily controlled, they, just as living animals, might resist submitting to human reason. The ever-present threat of defiance made the bête-machine dangerous, and this danger engaged the spectator’s deep-seated anxiety over the distinction between humans, animals, monsters, and machines.

Anna Maria Ioannoni Fiore, “Tipi … all’Opera”: Personages, Situations and Events of the Operatic Life in Nineteenth-Century Naples. The Point of View of Melchiorre De Filippis Delfico.

Melchiorre De Filippis Delfico (1825–1895) was a musician and caricaturist from an aristocratic Teramo family. Living in Naples, he brilliantly interpreted the nineteenth-century musical life of the town, showing in his caricatures composers, librettists, singers, critics, and music publishers. Quotations drawn from the music journals of the time, such as Gazzetta musicale di Napoli, La musica, and Il teatro illustrato, provide a counterpoint to the situations depicted by De Filippis Delfico, showing how his images succeeded in being visual commentary of history. The final caricatures that De Filippis Delfico devoted to Verdi, are his visions of the Naples premiere of Otello in 1888 (Otello. Impressioni di M. Delfico. 1888).

Olga Jesurum, From Giuseppe Rossi to Primo Conti: Italian Set Designs for Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera in the 19th and 20th Century.

The documentation collected at the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma includes a section with the iconography of set designs and costumes used in performances of Verdi’s operas, spanning the period from the premieres until now. An example of a research what these type of iconography can demonstrate is an analysis of the staging history of Un ballo in maschera. Since the set designs for the prima at Rome’s Teatro Apollo in 1859 have not been found, information about the earliest staging can be reconstructed on the basis of Ricordi’s Disposizioni sceniche, in which Giuseppe Cencetti, opera’s first stage director, gives full details about costumes, sets and stage direction. Sets for the following productions were designed by Giuseppe Rossi (Terni, 1860), Giuseppe Bertoja (Trieste, 1861), Carlo Ferrario (Milan, 1862), Ferdinando Manzini (Modena, 1864), Vittorio Rota, Carlo Songa, Mario Sala and Angelo Parravicini (Milan, 1903), Camillo Parravicini (Rome, 1930) and Primo Conti (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 1935). Through these stagings it is possible to reconstruct the development of the ideas about opera performances in Italy during the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Berta Joncus, “A Likeness Where None Was To Be Found”: Imagining Kitty Clive (1711–1785).

The coordination of portraiture with musical roles was vital to the success of star soprano Kitty Clive. Visual promotion of Clive served different functions at different stages of her career: invention (for ballad opera, 1729–1732), assertion (for high-style English song, 1734–1739); apotheosis (for music by Handel and Arne, 1740), and parody (for musical burlesque, 1748–1769). London’s theatrical, musical and print industries worked together to construct Clive’s star persona and ring its changes. Following the trend set by John Jay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728), Clive was initially portrayed as Gay’s lead soprano Lavinia Fenton had been, that is as a sexually available nymph—though the first Clive “portrait” of 1729 was not actually a likeness of her. Frontispieces to the ballad opera Damon and Phillida likewise dealt in a false Clive image by suggesting she was popular as Phillida when in fact she rarely appeared in the role. From 1732 Clive followed her huge success in ballad opera by distinguishing herself in more elevated English song, and was faithfully depicted in mezzotints praising her vocal skills. Her most lavish portrait (1740) broadcast her by now mythic status as London’s “Sweet Bird” by showing her holding Handel’s eponymous aria. Musical parody dominated Clive’s last two decades on stage, and as “Mrs. Riot” (from Lathe, 1748) she appeared on watchpapers and in porcelain and oil as well as engraving.

Nicole Lallement, Iconography of Rameau’s Opera: The Dardanus Exemple.

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Dardanus was performed at the palace of Fontainebleau during the annual stay of Louis XIV there on 8 October and 5 November 1763. The iconographic sources documenting this performance include plans and cross sections of the theater, drawings of costumes, and watercolors of the sets for the prison scene. Archival documents include press commentaries published in Mercure de France and L’Avant coureur and the dairy of the administrator of the Menus Plaisirs du Roi (royal household responsible for court ceremonies), Papillon de La Ferté (1727–1794). These documents reflect the changes occurring during the preparation of the performance and give a general idea of the visual aspect of an opera performance in France around the middle of the eighteenth century.

Holly Mathieson, The “True Wagnerian” and the English Imagination: The Image of Hans Richter.

This article examines the visuality of the iconic conductor Hans Richter (1843–1916), who worked in London between the 1870s and early 1900s. It aims to investigate the ways in which the public saw, discussed and understood how he moved, dressed, behaved and how they conceptualized his role, both on and off stage. Primary source material, including portraits and written descriptions of Richter’s visuality, is discussed in terms of posture, gesture, rehearsal and performance technique and behaviour, and elements of his off-stage visuality.
Richter’s relationship with Richard Wagner had a profound influence over Richter’s reception as a performer, his reputation as a Wagnerian conductor and the audience’s perception of him as Wagner’s conduit. These elements permeated his visuality and affected his authority as a conductor, particularly as an interpreter of German repertoire. Portraits of Richter and written descriptions of his technique are compared to those of one of his most successful predecessors, Louis Jullien. The differences between the two highlight the rapidity with which the conducting profession evolved during the second half of the twentieth century and further emphasize the influence of Wagner’s conducting theory over the English public’s expectations of what constituted “good” conducting in Richter’s lifetime.
During the process of exploring these themes and in response to the conclusions made, multiple threads of information and inquiry become apparent, some of which are integral to a full understanding of the visuality of conductors and the world in which they worked. These include the conscious manipulation of issues relating to visuality, the influence of nationality on an individual’s visual reception and the influence of contemporary conducting theory on modes of depiction and reception of images and gesture. The study offers a unique perspective from which to consider these and other crucial questions and themes in conducting, nineteenth-century music and English music history.

Ruth Piquer Sanclemente & Gorka Rubiales Zabarte, Music Representation and Ideology in the Paintings of Francisco de Goya and His Contemporaries.

Many works by Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) and his contemporaries played an important role in the elaboration of visual models corresponding to the enlightened ideals. Those paintings and engravings, nevertheless, were not meant for the common people, but aimed to fulfill the expectations of the new middle-class art lovers. The music does not escape this process: festivals and popular dances were frequently represented, following the patterns of the enlightened despotism and reflecting an often exaggerated theatricality. The new middle-class was involved in the boom of different genders of theater music, above all the tonadilla escenica. The tonadilla assimilated popular elements of dance and music like the seguidilla and the bolero, among others, that did also appear represented in the paintings and engravings.
Those models were common to the plastic and the scenic arts. The analysis of the depicted dances and songs, of the characters, and the pictorial composition has been carried out with attention to their relations with fashion, customs, and with the contemporary musical scene. This process clarifies the ideological environment of eighteenth-century Spain and the political ideas that caused this stylizing and interpretation of the reality.

John A. Rice, Mid-Eighteenth-Century Opera Seria Evoked in a Print by Marc’Antonio dal Re.

During Carnival 1750 the soprano Violante Vestri (also known as Violante Vestris, ca. 1725–1791) created the role of Apamia in Giuseppe Carcani’s Tigrane at the Regio Ducal Teatro of Milan, in a production with sets by Bernardino and Fabrizio Galliari. Her performance was celebrated by a magnificent print by Marc’Antonio dal Re (1697–1766). The print serves as an extravagant frame for a sonnet addressed to the singer, “No, sprezzata non sei, l’Insubria onora”.
Below the sonnet, two putti hold up a banner displaying musical notation (partly legible) and a third putto holds up a portrait of the singer. Below these, Dal Re gives us a wonderfully vivid and detailed view—from the perspective of the ruler’s box at the back of the auditorium—of the staging of a serious opera in mid-eighteenth-century Italy, of the orchestra that accompanied it, and of the audience that enjoyed it.
This paper analyzes Dal Re’s print from several perspectives. It discusses Vestri’s career, which is remarkable for the large number of well-documented relationships (many of which were probably sexual) that she maintained with rich and influential men. It summarizes the complicated history of the libretto set by Carcani. It presents a transcription of the musical notation held aloft by the putti, which preserves a small part of an opera that is otherwise almost entirely lost. It discusses the function of this large-scale print, evaluating the possibility that the opera whose performance is depicted is the Tigrane in which Vestri herself sang, and that the theater is the Regio Ducal Teatro.

Clair Rowden, Opera and Caricature in the French fin-de-siècle Press: Massenet’s Thaïs, a Case Study.

When press censorship was abolished in France in 1881, Parisian newspapers saw an explosion of creative energy in the medium of caricature. Like politics and society scandals, theatrical premiéres became favorite fodder for caricaturists whose works can be read as a prism of contemporary reception and interpretation of Third-Republican art. The high-profile premiére of Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs in 1894 presented an irresistibly rich event for the sharp pencils of French caricaturists. This article examines how, in the case of Thaïs, caricature carried out its various “tasks”, beit reflection of social and political practice, cultural mediation, or promotion of moral and aesthetic integrity. Drawing upon theories developed by the late-nineteenth-century school of neuro-psychology, it is demonstrated how caricature was used to highlight the so-called “degenerate” nature of the story of Thaïs, the principal characters, the moral standards of the singers and composer, and the composer’s music itself. Sibyl Sanderson, who sang the role of Thaïs was lampooned in particular, and the effects of Thaïs on her career are briefly examined. Caricatures which appeared in the wake of the premiére ranged from the traditionally drawn “portrait-charge” to the clean line-drawing cartoons of the avant-garde Caran d’Ache. They exploited a range of imagery and contemporary ideas and issues, from the perceived links between overt female sexuality, religious hysteria and hypnosis, to the recently invented Théâtrophone and contemporary Anarchist bombings. By incorporating methodologies from art and cultural historians, the contextual analysis of these caricatures elucidates not only the central role of opera in the cultural and political life of fin-de-siècle Paris, but also how ever-increasingly sophisticated means of constructing and deconstructing images in the late nineteenth-century proved to be vital not only to entertainment and amusement, but also to self-analysis and auto-censorship.

Azana O. Smith, On Tupos: Iconography and Verisimilitude in Early Arcadia.

Gianvincenzo Gravina’s Discorso sopra l’Endimione (1691) teaches us three important concepts about the creation and perception of verisimilitude within the literary society of the Arcadian Academy in Rome: (1) representations in poetry and musical drama should accord with the audience’s “commonly held beliefs”; (2) images which portray such beliefs are the most effective means of representing truth; and (3) mythology is the most important literary source of truth. After establishing this theoretical construct, Gravina applies it to a music-dramatic text—Alessandro Guidi’s L’Endimione (1688)—a work upheld as an exemplar of stylistic purity, poetic novelty and representational verisimilitude.
L’Endimione narrates the shepherd Endymion’s love for the moon goddess Cynthia. Surprisingly, though, the plot seems to contradict Gravina’s theories of verisimilitude; at the most iconic and central moment of the narrative, Guidi reverses the traditional mythological narrative and subverts the gender roles of the two main characters. This essay seeks to understand the fundamental conflict posed by Gravina’s theory and his analysis. Using sources drawn from art, mythography and literature, spanning the ancient and early modern eras, this essay provides a narrative paradigm, based on the iconography of the subject Endymion, against which Guidi’s text can be read. The result is a broader historical and intellectual context both for Gravina’s theory and for the values of Arcadian verisimilitude, and a practical model for analyzing late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century musical drama.

Jana Spáčilová & Štěpá Vácha, New Insights into the Performance of Fux’s Opera Costanza e Fortezza in Prague in 1723.

The festa teatrale Costanza e Fortezza of Johann Joseph Fux, performed in Prague in September 1723 during the coronation visit of emperor Charles VI on the occasion of the birthday of his wife, Elisabeth Christine, attracts attention not only for its importance in music history, but also from the point of view of historical performance practice. The main iconographic sources are engravings of scenic projects of Galli-Bibiena. These pictures provide various views of the colossal building of the open-air theater, built for this occasion near Prague Castle. The task of our study is the reconstruction of the opera theater at Prague Castle and the analysis of its spatial and acoustic conditions. Bibiena’s engravings are discussed with regard to the performance practice of Baroque opera (distribution of musicians within orchestra pit, the position of singers within the scene) and confronted especially with our own experiences of the period-style opera performances. The hitherto unknown archival documents concerning the Prague performance are published here, too.

Emile Wennekes, Mengelberg Conducts Oberon: The Conductor as Actor, Anno 1931.

Early moving pictures of orchestras in performance are often considered neither chalk nor cheese. They have been only marginally studied to date as an independent phenomenon both in musicology and in film studies. In the spring of 1931, in the Films Sonores Tobis studio at Epinay-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, was made an intriguing film wherein Willem Mengelberg (1871–1951) is seen (and heard) conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra in segments of Weber’s Oberon. The concept, context, studio decor as well as the performance are analyzed. Besides questions about the historical backdrop of this production, the circumstances that made the initially sceptical Mengelberg to “play himself” are described, clarifying his surprising decision to undertake the theatrics required. Several questions of definition are prominent in the article. How does one, in terms of genre, for example, even define the film in question?