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"Life Is a Woman": Gender, Sex and Sexuality in Bartók's "The Wooden Prince"

Studia Musicologica
Vol. 48, No. 1/2 (Mar., 2007), pp. 163-170
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25598288
Page Count: 8
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"Life Is a Woman": Gender, Sex and Sexuality in Bartók's "The Wooden Prince"
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Abstract

This paper is a reassessment of Béla Bartók's "The Wooden Prince", in light of the attitudes and beliefs of Bartók's contemporaries, in particular György Lukács, and the Ballet's librettist, Béla Balázs. Particular emphasis is given to Lukács's relationship with Irma Seidler and Balázs through examination of Lukács's essay, "Søren Kierkegaard and Regine Olsen" - a source overlooked in previous studies of this work. After analysing the views of Bartók's milieu regarding love and relationships, I conclude that the ballet's message is much more pessimistic than previously thought. This study places "The Wooden Prince", which has been compared unfavourably with Bartók's other two stage works, alongside Duke Bluebeard's Castle as its companion in both musical and intellectual depth, and confirms Kodály's view that the ballet is the Allegro which balances the "desolate Adagio of the opera."

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