Danila Mayer (University of Applied Sciences -- St. Poelten, Austria): "The Global Opera: An Anthropological Analysis"
Thursday, 30. March 2017, 4 PM
ÖAW, Institut für Sozialanthropologie
A-1020 Wien, Hollandstrasse 11-13
In what ways is opera global? Mayer will discuss a possible approach to an anthropology of global opera,
taking into view the “world of opera” and the opera in the world. With research in and of several opera houses,
her presentation centers around opera in Vienna, with the State Opera as a main unit of observation, and as a
paradigm for a musical genre, which has spanned the last 400 years and the globe. Opera as an institution, as an
organisation, a building, or a certain work is well under scrutiny by various disciplines. What can anthropology
contribute, and how can we bring forward new aspects to a phenomenon so well described? There are the
approaches of an anthropology of globalization, an intense research into processes in which opera has taken
part in for centuries. There are the singers and other musicians, the composers and librettists, who have been
mobile, traveling globally, and become agents of culture exchange. There is the music, which as a medium
enables emulation and mixture. There are issues of politics, of post/coloniality and migration, of “race” and
gender, of elites, identity, and performance. And also, who is the public, how is opera represented in the media,
and how do we understand the Vienna Opera Ball, when opera comes to play the state?