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22 Mar 17

In his Academy project, Mark Pottinger examines the role of the natural sciences in the definition of the supernatural in early Romantic opera in France, Germany, and Italy. More specifically, his project focuses on the friendship and collaboration between Giacomo Meyerbeer and Alexander von Humboldt (both from Berlin, both long-time residents of Paris) in Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable (1831). Pottinger’s argues that Meyerbeer’s consultations with Humboldt about the opera and its visual, aural, and literary content intimately relate to the then knowledge of electricity, magnetism, and time.

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