skip to main content

Dramaturgical analysis of opera performance: four recent productions of Dido and Aeneas

Champion, Holly, Arts and Media, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW

2016

Check for online availability

  • Title:
    Dramaturgical analysis of opera performance: four recent productions of Dido and Aeneas
  • Author/Creator/Curator: Champion, Holly, Arts and Media, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Subjects: Opera; Performance
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2016
  • Supervisor: Fabian, Dorottya, Arts and Media, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Language: English
  • Permissions: This work can be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
    Please see additional information at https://library.unsw.edu.au/copyright/for-researchers-and-creators/unsworks

  • Description: The scholarly analysis of the modern performance of opera is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field, yet so far this body of literature has consisted almost entirely of short-form articles and chapters. This thesis posits and demonstrates a new large-scale methodology for the analysis of the modern performance of opera, drawing from theatre studies, performance studies, musicology, cultural history, and other fields, but primarily from dramaturgy. It focuses on analysing the construction of meaning and signification through modern musical and theatrical performance of opera, elucidating this through analysis of four recent productions of Henry Purcell and Nahum Tate’s c.1683–88 opera Dido and Aeneas; those of Sasha Waltz and Guests (2005), Les Arts Florissants (2008), The Royal Opera / The Royal Ballet (2009) and Opera Australia (2009). This thesis analyses and discusses the opera and the four productions through DVD recordings and live performance, while also integrating a range of primary and secondary sources. Comparing productions enables insights to be made into the interpretative possibilities offered by the operatic text.The thesis argues that these four productions of Dido and Aeneas explore a number of themes that are investigated chapter by chapter: themes of duality and dilemma; power, freedom and oppression; gender, sex and sexuality; the supernatural; and death and suicide. These arise partly from the opera's narrative and its intertextual relationship with Virgil's The Aeneid, and partly from the layers of cultural and artistic history that have accrued around the opera. The thesis shows how the four productions balance the historical and the contemporary, the stylistic and the thematic, the material and the meaningful; and how each production explores the interpretative possibilities offered by the operatic text in different ways. This thesis is unique as a large-scale dramaturgical and comparative analysis of multiple modern productions of a single opera, and as such it makes a significant contribution to a relatively new but exciting and rapidly developing scholarly field.

Searching Remote Databases, Please Wait