Opera in Performance : Analyzing the Performative Dimension of Opera Productions book cover
1st Edition

Opera in Performance
Analyzing the Performative Dimension of Opera Productions

ISBN 9780367645021
Published September 28, 2021 by Routledge
198 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $155.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Opera in Performance elucidates the performative dimension of contemporary opera productions.

What are the most striking and decisive moments in a performance? Why do we respond so strongly to stagings that transform familiar scenes, to performers’ bodily presence, and to virtuosic voices as well as ill-disposed ones? Drawing on phenomenology and performance theory, Clemens Risi explains how these moments arise out of a dialogue between performers and the audience, representation and presence, the familiar and the new. He then applies these insights in critical descriptions of his own experiences of various singers, stagings, and performances at opera houses and festivals from across the German-speaking world over the last twenty years. As the first book to focus on what happens in performance as such, this study shifts our attention to moments that have eluded articulation and provides tools for describing our own experiences when we go to the opera.

This book will particularly interest scholars and students in theater and performance studies, musicology, and the humanities, and may also appeal to operagoers and theater professionals.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


Introduction Opera and the Performative

Part 1 Theoretical Foundations

Chapter 1 Beyond Interpretation

Chapter 2 Beyond Semiotics: The Interplay of Representation and Presence

Chapter 3 Theories of Performance and the Performative

Chapter 4 The Entanglement of the Senses: Premises from Perception Theory

Part 2 Analytical Approaches

Chapter 5 Symbioses and Contestations: The Interaction of Auditory and Visual Elements

Chapter 6 The Interplay of Representation and Presence in Performance

Chapter 7 The Voice and the Body in Opera Performances

Chapter 8 Rhythm and Experiences of Time in Opera

Chapter 9 The Future of Opera? On the Mediated Experience and Distribution of Opera Performances


List of Performances Discussed



View More



Clemens Risi is professor of theater studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.


''I find the book not only important and revealing but also downright exciting in how it points out connections and perspectives. An impressive work that I felt to be both brilliantly written and pioneering.'' Hans Neuenfels

''With the present volume, Clemens Risi fills a serious desideratum. The discussion in theater studies has so far engaged too little with the repertory system of opera—viewed statistically, still the most common—from the perspective of performance analysis. […] The book will certainly soon develop into a standard reference and hopefully also contribute to conferring more visibility to opera in discussions in theater studies.'' Forum Modernes Theater