Social representation in the 19th-century opera houses was politics with musical (and other) means that often reached beyond the limits of certain cities or social milieus. With obvious symbols as well as with indirect allusions, one referred to imperial values, democracy, nationalism, race, concepts of masculinity and femininity, sexual morals and social norms. One attacked the imperial centres such as Vienna and their attempts of cultural centralisation, and reached for a wider, national audience. The architecture of an opera house also spoke of wider social values, expressed both on the facades and in the interiors. In a musical script alone, titles, epigraphs, score annotations, programs and various musical allusions become major tools that help the listener interpret the music. The values to be represented through music, building design, performance and the audience behaviour also varied – and changed – in time and place. This makes an opera house one of the ideal sites to view social organisation in a very consciously representational space.
The conference is co-sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation in Germany, Central European University, Pasts Inc. and the Institute of Habsburg History in Budapest.
Dr. Markian Prokopovych
c/o Zsuzsa Macht
Central European University
Nador u. 11
Hungary Email: email@example.com
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