Vol 17 (2005) Music Theatre

Music-theatre and other forms, where music and a scenic realisation constitute the performance, are an area of great focus in the public eye. A large variety of music-theatre, ranging from classical opera, operetta and musicals to experiments with music, theatre and media is readily available for an expanding audience. There is also an increasing academic interest following this development and a very wide definition of the concept of music-theatre is emerging within the academic discourse.

Yet, somehow, music theatre still poses a specific problem, both on a theoretical and practical level. Traditionally, music-theatre has fallen between two academic fields: it has either been studied by musicologists focusing – of course – on the music; or by theatre researchers focusing mainly on the scenic or dramatic content.

But music theatre is obviously not understood in full if both sides are not present in the approach. Earlier studies done by musicologists have often put the overall emphasis on the score, thus leaving out the importance of the actual performance of the work, and neglecting the experience of the scenic realisation which is always a part of music-theatre. Theatre researchers, on the other hand, have, in the lack of appropriate tools, often ignored those dramatic or theatrical elements that erive from the music, and restrained their studies to the traditional elements of theatre: plot, character and stage design.

This volume of Nordic Theatre Studies is meant as an attempt to break down these traditional barriers and open up the study of music theatre towards and inter-disciplinary approach, where the significance of music, drama, scenic realisation etc. are given equal weight. It is the synthesis of the elements, the result of the co-operation of many aesthetic and performative elements, which is the object of interest. The mutual starting point of the following articles is to take into account the experience of the aspects which constitute a music-theatre performance. The measures taken to do so include the use of a variety of theories concerning, for instance, performativity, dramaturgy and gender; and the inclusion of ideas from many fields: rhetoric, philosophy and sociology. (Continue reading the introduction by Michael Eigtved in NTS vol 17…)


Michael Eigtved
Jette Barnholdt Hansen
From Antithesis to Dynamic Dialectics. The Dualism of Aria and Recitative in opera seria
Nila Parly
Plot Versus Music: Elisabeth and Venus in Wagner’s Tannhäuser
Magnus Tessing and Nikolaj Elver
Gilda’s Voices. On Potential Meanings, Musical Intertextuality and Vocal Performance in Verdi’s Rigoletto
Ståle Wikshåland
“Ob ich die Musik nicht höre? Sie kommt doch aus mir!” Voice, Identity and Temporality in Richard Strauss’ Elektra
Tore Vagn Lid
Musicalization of the Non-Musical and Textualization of Music in the Musical Theatre of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
Michael Eigtved
Brecht, Broadway and Bob Wilson: Performativity and the Music Theatre
Sven Åke Heed
The Long and Winding Road. Postmodern Strategies in Peter Mussbach’s Production of La Traviata
Sanne Krogh Groth
Bodily and Non-bodily Voices and Bodies – Public Secret in the Light of Living Voices