Join us tomorrow, November 7, for the next event in the IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series. Andrew Walkling, Dean’s Assistant Professor of Early Modern Studies, will give a presentation titled ‘From Pole to Pole Resounding: Epideictic, Performativity, and Musical Rhetoric in John Dryden’s “Albion and Albanius”’ at noon Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the IASH Conference Room, LN-1106. Dryden and Grabu’s 1685 operatic extravaganza “Albion and Albanius” constitutes the high-water mark of multimedia theatrical spectacle in the English Restoration period. At the same time, it has long been denigrated — by contemporary critics and modern scholars alike — for its alleged literary and musical superficiality. Yet the work in fact represents a significant contribution to the operatic form, offering innovative approaches to musical characterization, structural articulation and the establishment of overlapping but complementary systems of allegoresis. Through an exploration of these factors, this paper seeks to reposition “Albion and Albanius” as a generically and politically pioneering work — offered up by two of the leading artistic figures of the day — whose importance in the history of English opera has not hitherto been fully appreciated.
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