Operatic Immersions: Inaugural conference of the Northern Opera Research Network

Call for Papers:

Operatic Immersions
Inaugural conference of the Northern Opera Research Network

22-23 April 2016
22 April: Heritage Quay (University of Huddersfield, UK)
23 April: Clegg Studio (University of Leeds, UK)

Immersion is a term much debated in the field of performance and an aesthetic ideal that has shaped key developments in operatic history. One of the first associations we might make is with Wagner’s Ring (or rather his concept of Gesamtkunstwerk) and this conference coincides with the start of the 2016 Opera North Ring Cycle, offering an opportunity for delegates to attend Das Rheingold at Leeds Town Hall on the evening of 23 April.

Immersion can relate to the way performance spaces are or have been constructed, to sensory phenomena, to the use of new technologies, to emotional, phenomenological perceptions of performance, to the role of performers as active agents, and to an opera’s relationship with real-world events. Opera’s visceral and sometimes overwhelming effects on audiences invite investigation of its own specific immersive attributes. Recent trends in making new operatic work pick up the attraction of immersive environments among practitioners and academics, while historical works are experienced anew with digital technologies, improvisation, audience interaction, and in unconventional and surprising spaces (the pop-up operas of tête à tête, Silent Opera’s use of smartphone technology, Christopher Cerrone’s headphone opera Invisible Cities for LA Union Station, and Opera North’s opera installation I am Yours, Yours am I). Additionally, the rise of the opera ‘livecast’, experienced online and via cinematic platforms, opens up new questions about immersion, mediatised opera, and adaptation.

Clemens Risi, Institut für Theater- und Medienwissenschaft, Nuremberg
Rhian Hutchings, Creative Director, OperaSonic

For the purposes of this conference, the term ‘immersion’ is defined broadly and provides a focus for both historical and contemporary perspectives. Proposals (200 words max.) for 20-minute papers are invited, offering discussion of any aspects of operatic immersion, particularly relating to themes outlined above and/or including:

· immersion in the rehearsal process
· backstage perspectives and their immersive qualities
· temporal immersions (including operatic marathons)
· opera as macrocosm and/or microcosm
· opera’s relationship with the sublime
· opera and fandom

Proposals should be emailed to norns@norn.network

Deadline: 11 January 2016

Programme Committee: Rachel Cowgill (University of Huddersfield); Sarah Hibberd (University of Nottingham), Kara McKechnie (University of Leeds).

Professor Rachel Cowgill
Head of Music & Drama
School of Music, Humanities & Media
Creative Arts Building (CAM 1/15)
University of Huddersfield
Queensgate, Huddersfield
West Yorkshire, UK, HD1 3DH
tel.: +44 (0)1484 471397