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Opera, Power and Ideology

Anthropological Study of a National Art in Slovenia

Vlado Kotnik Ph.D.

Opera is able to offer enchanting performance sites, in which people create and experience glamorous or ecstatic imagined worlds, but behind this picture we find a real social organization embraced by reality, which makes opera’s world and its history accessible for ethnographic enquiry, historical reflection and cultural analysis. This book therefore presents the author’s original anthropological study, which shows complex historical, socio-cultural, political, economic, ideological, academic and ethnographic facets of opera culture in Slovenia, including the field sites of both Slovenian national opera houses, in Ljubljana and Maribor. The study explicates how social representations of opera are produced and enacted by different social agents involved within the Slovenian national operatic habitus, and how opera is used as an idealized vision of nationhood and national identity in a provincial society.
Contents: Opera as anthropology – Opera as ethnographic experience – Opera as provincial habitus – Opera as hegemony of ‘musicological’ canon – Opera as idealized vision of nationhood – Opera as invented tradition – Opera as media representation – Opera as postsocialist calculation – Opera as transnational promenade.