Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Throwing the Voice, Catching the Body: Opera and ventriloquism in Philip Glass/ Jean Cocteau's 'La Belle et la Bête'

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2011), 5, (2), 137–156.

Abstract

After discussing the practice of operaticising the film and methodology of synchronization undertaken in Philip Glass's opera for ensemble and film La Belle et la Bête in context of techniques of dubbing and playback, in this study I explore (de)synchronous relations between the presence of the body and the presence of the voice in this piece, and the implications that a reinvented body–voice construct produces. I read La Belle et la Bête through and along the texts by Carolyn Abbate, Mladen Dolar, Steven Connor and Rick Altman. The purpose is postulating a new model for conceptualisation of the body–voice relation through analogy of how Altman uses the concept of ventriloquism in film theory: the operatic music composed by Philip Glass is a ventriloquist who takes someone else's 'dummy', in this case Cocteau's movie. I show how and why the process of synchronization is the one from which this postopera emerges, and what consequences that process brings for its status and function.

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Author details

Novak, Jelena