1st Edition

Performing Arts in Changing Societies Opera, Dance, and Theatre in European and Nordic Countries around 1800

    250 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Performing Arts in Changing Societies is a detailed exploration of genre development within the fields of dance, theatre, and opera in selected European countries during the decades before and after 1800. An introductory chapter outlines the theoretical and ideological background of genre thinking in Europe, starting from antiquity. A further fourteen chapters cover the performing genres as they developed in England, France, Germany, and Austria, and follow the dissemination and adaptation of the corresponding genres in minor and major cities in the Nordic countries. With a strong emphasis on the role that pragmatic and contextual factors had in defining genres, the book examines such subjects as the dancing masters in Christiania (Oslo), circa 1800, the repertory and travels of an itinerant acrobat and his wife in Norway in the 1760s, and the influence of Enlightenment ideas on bourgeois drama in Denmark.

    Including detailed analyses in the light of material, political, and social factors, this is a valuable resource for scholars and researchers in the fields of musicology, opera studies, and theatre and performance studies.

    1. Performative Arts between Rules and Realities: The Adaptive History of Genre

    Svein Gladsø and Randi M. Selvik

    2. Opera at Home: Performance and Ownership in Eighteenth-Century France

    David Charlton

    3. Nationalism in Eighteenth-Century German opera? – Changing Views on the Nation in two Operas of Johann Friedrich Reichardt

    Mårten Nehrfors Hultén

    4. Marvellous Changes – Changes within the Marvellous: Carl Maria von Weber’s Oberon as Transfer between Cultural Tendencies and Historical Discourses

    T. Sofie Taubert

    5. Syngespill – a Favourite or a Substitute?

    Cecilie Louise Macé Stensrud

    6. ‘Ce mot de Wahrheit, quelle expression elle lui donna’ – The Melodrama, its Performances and Performers in late Eighteenth-Century Vienna

    Vera Grund

    7. Amphions of the North – Court Kapellmeisters in the Musical Life of Sweden around 1800

    Owe Ander

    8. Representative Performances, Political Propaganda and the Question of Financing – The Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm 1773–1823

    Karin Hallgren

    9. What Place for a Woman? Dancing in London’s Theatres circa 1770–1810

    Sarah McCleave

    10. Dance and Social Education in Early Nineteenth-Century Christiania

    Elizabeth Svarstad

    11. ‘Nemo ei in orbe terrarum in artibus par est’: The Rope and Wire Repertoire of Itinerant Artist Michael Stuart

    Anne Margrete Fiskvik

    12. Pantomime under the Aurora Borealis: The Winter Season of the Gautier Troupe in Trondheim, Norway, 1839/40

    Ellen Karoline Gjervan

    13. ‘Not for Pleasure Alone’: The Dramatic Societies and the Theatre Craze, 1770–1850: Their Background in the Age of Enlightenment and Their Importance for the Emergence of Private Theatres in Denmark

    Alette Scavenius

    14. On the Wire: Scenographing Affect at Sillgateteatern in Gothenburg around 1800

    Astrid von Rosen


    Randi Margrete Selvik is Emeritus Professor in Musicology, Department of Music, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim.

    Svein Gladsø is Emeritus Professor in Theatre Studies, Department of Art and Media Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim.

    Anne Margrete Fiskvik is Professor, Programme for Dance Studies, Department of Musicology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim.

    "What struck me as the real common denominator – at least of what I thought were the most interesting contributions – is a reliance on approaches drawn from Cultural Studies, which has led to investigations of amateur practices and itinerant performers, often drawing on original archival research. This marks a refreshing departure from the traditional writing of music and theatre history in the Nordic countries, which for a long time was focused exclusively on national repertoires and artists, often structured around simplistic labels such as ‘classicism’, ‘enlightenment’, ‘pre-romanticism’, ‘realism’, etc. Though the present volume is not entirely free from the old periodizing, the latter has become laudably secondary."

    Swedish Journal of Music Research, Volume 103, 2021