The articulation of context and identity in U–Carmen eKhayelitsha
Viljoen, Susanna Isobella
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The primary focus of this qualitative research project is on the articulation of contexts and identity in operatic texts. In literature, postmodern appropriations and re-writings of classic nineteenth-century texts have changed perceptions about the ability of the marginalized Other’s identity to change. As a discursive phenomenon, opera helped to shape nineteenth-century perceptions of the exotic Other. This thesis argues that the appropriation of operatic texts to reflect various contexts induces the potential to shape alternative perceptions about identity. In U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (2005), a cinematic adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen (1873–74), director Mark Dornford-May revisits earlier versions of Carmen and uses semiotics and several other narrative strategies in order to articulate the identities of the African female Other within the context of a post-apartheid township. This thesis illustrates how the dialectic relationship between text, context and identity formation becomes evident in the analysis and comparison of Prosper Mérimée’s novella Carmen (1845), George Bizet’s eponymous opera and U-Carmen eKhayelitsha.
- Humanities