The performing arts mirror the human condition. This study sought to analyze the reasons for inclusion of visually impaired characters in opera, the cause of the blindness or near blindness, and the dramatic purpose of the blindness in the storyline.
We reviewed operas from the 18th century to 2010 and included all characters with ocular problems. We classified the cause of each character’s ocular problem (organic, nonorganic, and other) in relation to the thematic setting of the opera: biblical and mythical, blind beggars or blind musicians, historical (real or fictional characters), and contemporary or futuristic.
Cases of blindness in 55 characters (2 as a choir) from 38 operas were detected over 3 centuries of repertoire: 11 had trauma-related visual impairment, 5 had congenital blindness, 18 had visual impairment of unknown cause, 9 had psychogenic or malingering blindness, and 12 were symbolic or miracle-related. One opera featured an ophthalmologist curing a patient.
The research illustrates that visual impairment was frequently used as an artistic device to enhance the intent and situate an opera in its time.
Post author correction
Article Type: BOOK REVIEW
Article Subject: Socioeconomics and Education medicine/ophthalmology
AuthorsPinar Aydin, Robert Ritch, John O’Dwyer
- • Accepted on 18/10/2017
- • Available online on 04/11/2017
This article is available as full text PDF.
- Aydin, Pinar [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 1, * Corresponding Author (email@example.com)
- Ritch, Robert [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 2
- O’Dwyer, John [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 3
Eye and Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic, Ankara - Turkey
Einhorn Clinical Research Center, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York, NY - USA
Graduate School of Education, Bilkent University, Ankara - Turkey