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From prop to producer: the appropriation of radio technology in opera during the Weimar Republic.

Vaughan, K., 2020. From prop to producer: the appropriation of radio technology in opera during the Weimar Republic. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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VAUGHAN, Katy_Ph.D._2020.pdf



This thesis explores the appropriation of radio technology in opera composed during the Weimar Republic. It identifies a gap in current research where opera and radio have often been examined separately in the fields of musicology and media history. This research adopts a case study approach and combines the disciplines of musicology and media history, in order to create a narrative of the use of radio as a compositional tool in Weimar opera. The journey begins with radio as a prop on stage in Ernst Krenek’s Jonny speilt auf (1927) and ends with the radio as a producer in Walter Goehr’s radio opera Malpopita (1931). Max Brand's Maschinist Hopkins (1929) provides an interlude between these two works, where its analysis serves to pinpoint compositional techniques used in radio opera. The opera case studies reflect the changing attitudes towards technology and media in Weimar musicology, as shown in the journal, Musikblätter des Anbruch (1919-1937). The purpose of this research is to view opera through a lens of media history and in doing so it considers debates on entanglements within media history. The appropriation of radio in Weimar opera shattered the borders of traditional performance practice, resulting in the merging of these two media. The analysis explores the materiality of the radio as a prop on the stage and subsequently the lack of materiality within radio opera, by exploring the application of the so-called ‘invisible voice’ in order to compensate for the lack of visual stimuli. This thesis will show radio’s journey from prop to producer in Weimar opera performance, mirroring the changing attitude towards radio within Weimar musicology. It will offer new perspectives on existing analyses by placing Jonny spielt auf and Maschinist Hopkins within the context of media history, and it will offer the first academic examination of Goehr’s Malpopita, contributing to the narratives of both opera and radio history.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:opera; radio; media history; entangled media histories
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:33497
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:24 Feb 2020 16:13
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:20


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