Research topic: Opera and Musical Drama
In opera and musical drama, the singers and musicians perform a dramatic work which combines text (libretto) and music.
The study of opera as a separate research topic is relatively new, and emerges from the genre’s complex character. At the same time, opera and musical drama were the leading genres in musical life from the beginning of the 1600s up to the middle of the 1800s. This has posed new challenges for music research, which has brought together many and new perspectives in an attempt to understand what opera actually is.
Research on opera and musical drama examines individual operas, but also more general aspects such as the origin, development and present forms of opera and musical drama. Particular focus is placed on how musical drama works. In other words, we take a closer look at the opera’s dramaturgy in a historical or contemporary context.
Common to the many different methods of approach is that none of them is limited to formal analysis. We take a closer look at the performers’ role in personifying characters on stage and study which special types of narrative the music makes it possible to articulate from the edge of the stage.
In this way, opera studies have become a source for new theories and interdisciplinary perspectives about gender and character, about music and society, about the visual as a separate source of information, and about a large set of production techniques, from Toricelli’s magical devices in the 1600s in Venice to the modern stage machinery in Bjørvika.