Dissertation Defense Tereza Havelková: Opera as Hypermedium: Meaning-Making, Immediacy, and the Politics of Perception
Supervisors: Rokus de Groot & Maaike Bleeker
In my thesis, the concept of hypermediacy (Bolter and Grusin 1999) serves as a starting point for a theoretical enquiry into contemporary encounters between opera and the media. My discussion is guided by an interest in how opera participates in the larger artistic and theoretical discourse on the politics of representation and perception. I examine several critical claims that have been made with respect to multimedia, theatre and opera, and analyze various effects of immediacy that opera is able to produce within the multiplicity and heterogeneity of representations and media typical of hypermediacy, including the effects of liveness and presence. I approach these effects, which I understand as inextricably bound up with opera’s processes of meaning-making, in terms of how the relationship between opera as an audio-visual event and its spectator-auditors is established and shaped. As case studies, I selected the operas of Louis Andriessen and Peter Greenaway, which epitomize the characteristics of hypermediacy within the operatic context.
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