Power mise en scène: Opera, Aesthetics and Politics in the 18th Century (completed)

Among the 18th Century’s most important cultural arenas, politically, socially and artistically, were the operatic stage and the oratorio-scene.

This project is an attempt to investigate in a more concrete manner how the interplay between these two vocal and dramatic genres, opera and oratorio, takes part in the social and political mise-en-scène that unfolded before the eyes of its intended audiences.

Man in nice clothes with a good eye on at woman with nice clothes. Painting.

In this respect, opera and oratorio performance are reflections of a distinguished social mise-en-scène, at the same time as the mise-en-scène created models for social staging. In other words: The artistic expression is to be

studied not only as a reflection of the social construction. The relationship between art and society constitutes a dynamic and complicated interplay, where art’s expression is an active contributor, articulating images of and for the social arena.

These are the basic assumptions on which this project is based, both on the general, theoretical level and in its specification on a concrete level, in each of the four case-studies. We wish to examine in detail how these mechanisms work, hereby contributing both to the theoretical understanding of the mechanisms of interplay between aesthetics and politics, and to a fruitful explanation of how these mechanisms work in each single case subject to historical study.  



The project is jointly funded by The Research Council of Norway under the program FRIHUM, and the University of Oslo. The project will be running from 2006-2010.

Published Apr. 29, 2010 4:01 PM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2020 1:59 PM


  • Erling Sverdrup Sandmo
  • Eystein Sandvik
  • Jørgen Langdalen
Detailed list of participants