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W5 DIS “Intrusions in Asia; Opera and Society and a Dilemma”

Please respond to one (1) of the following, using sources under the Explore heading as the basis of your response:

  • Describe the key motives involved in the increased presence of Westerners in India, China, and Japan in the 1700s and 1800s. Identify the key factors that led to Britain’s successful imposition of its presence and trade policies on China, despite communications like those from Emperor Ch’ien-lung (i.e., Qianlong) and Commissioner Lin Zexu (i.e., Lin Tse-hsu). Argue for or against the British policies regarding China in the 1800s, using analogies from our own modern times.
  • Read, listen to, and watch the sources for the opera composers at the Websites below and in this week’s Music Folder. Describe the major influences that Verdi, Wagner, or Puccini exerted upon opera in terms of making it more innovative, realistic, and even controversial. Next, consider Wagner and this dilemma: Wagner’s brilliance is clear because his works remain some of the most popular and admired productions in our own time. Yet, he was a blatantly antisemitic and held notions of racial purity, traits that have stained his artistic legacy. (This was compounded by the later celebration of Wagner’s music by Hitler and the Nazis). New York Times writer Anthony Tommasini wrote of Wagner in 2005: “How did such sublime music come from such a warped man? Maybe art really does have the power to ferret out the best in us.” So, consider the issue of whether we should or can separate the artist from the art, whether we can appreciate the art but reject the artist. Or whether we should reject both the person and his or her art. Identify one (1) modern musician or artist where this dilemma arises.

Explore:

Intrusions in Asia

  • Chapter 29 (pp. 974-979), intrusions into Asia; Chapter 29 (pp. 980-984), Japanese woodblock prints
  • Opium Wars and the Opening of China at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/20428167
  • Opium Wars with visuals at http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/opium_wars_01/ow1_essay01.html
  • Key documents from China at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1793qianlong.asp and http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/com-lin.html

Opera and Society

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