"At first glance, modernism and opera may seem like strange bedfellows--the former hostile to sentiment, the latter wearing its heart on its sleeve. And yet these apparent opposites attract: many operas are aesthetically avant-garde, politically subversive, and socially transgressive. From the proto-modernist strains of Richard Wagner's Parsifal through the twenty-first-century modernism of Kaija Saariaho's L'amour de loin, the duet between modernism and opera, at turns harmonious and dissonant, has beenone of the central artistic events of modernity. Despite this centrality, scholars of modernist literature only rarely venture into opera, and music scholars generally return the favor by leaving literature to one side. But opera, that grand cauldron of the arts, demands that scholars, too, share the stage with one another. In Modernism and Opera, Richard Begam and Matthew Wilson Smith bring together musicologists, literary critics, and theater scholars for the first time in a mutual endeavor to trace certain key moments in the history of modernism and opera."--Book jacket.