Ambivalent Engagement: Opera between Populism and the Postmodern

Why would anyone today write a new opera? Not only is opera expensive to produce, it is dreadfully slow to develop. These practical restrictions distinguish opera from, say, spoken theater, which enjoys much greater flexibility in its ability to respond to current events. One could even describe the relationship between opera and society today as “displaced”. Opera has become a “Repertoirebetrieb” that hires living stage directors to reinterpret the work of dead composers and librettists, relocating the relevance audiences once expected from opera’s words and music into the mise-en-scene.
In this talk, composer Hauke Berheide and director/librettist Amy Stebbins propose an aesthetics of “ambivalent engagement” as a conceptual framework for the production of a new opera. Using examples from their own work, the team will illustrate how opera’s constitutive parts (music, text, image) can be assembled toward the creation of large-scale narratives in such a way that calls attention to the ontological contradictions between those constitutive parts.

Composer Hauke Berheide and Director/ Librettist Amy Stebbins have received commissions from the Bavarian State Opera, the Augsburg State Theater, and the Frankfurt Opera. In 2019 they founded New Opera Dialogues, a discussion platform for contemporary opera aesthetics and new work development.

Amy Stebbins is an alumna of the Fulbright Foundation, the Akademie Musiktheater heute and the Humboldt Foundation. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2018 and her BA from Harvard in 2007.

Hauke Berheide is a recipient of the Munich Opera Festival Prize, the Rome Prize (Villa Massimo), the Music-Theater NOW Award, the Missing Link prize, the NRW State Förderpreis. He is an alumnus of the Akademie Musiktheater heute. He studied composition with Manfred Trojahn and José Maria Sanchez-Verdú.

Sprache: Englisch

Vortrag: 27. Juni, 16-18 Uhr, Raum t.b.d.
Workshop mit H. Berheide und A. Stebbins: 28. Juni, 10-12 Uhr, Raum GABF 05/608

Anmeldung Workshop: theaterforschung@rub.de