The Waning of Victorian Imperialism: Stylistic Dualism in Gustav Holst's One-Act Opera Sāvitri (1908-9)
Description: Gustav Holst's one-act opera Sāvitri (1908-9) represents a turning point in his compositional style, which came at a significant time in British history. Holst combines a simpler style informed by his work with English folksong with the Wagnerian style that permeated his earlier compositions. Although influenced by a British imperialist view of the world, Sāvitri renders Hindu-Indian culture in positive terms without relying on the purely exotic, offers a perspective on gender relationships that does not depend solely on convention, and presents the commoner as the British ideal rather than romanticizing the aristocracy. The result is an opera subtle in its complexity, approaching the profound themes of love, death, and spirituality with emotional restraint and self-control.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Broughton, Joseph Earl