Journal article

Between Realism and Re-enactment: Navigating Dramatic and Musical 'Problems' in Voyage to the Moon

Joseph Browning, Jane W Davidson

Parergon | Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies | Published : 2019


How do practitioners understand the relationship between performance, history and emotion in Western art music? Based on an ethnographic study of a contemporary pasticcio opera, we take the rehearsal room as an important, yet often overlooked, site in which creative artists imagine and perform different relationships with their musical and cultural heritage. Focusing on the interplay between two performative modes, which we call realism and re-enactment, we describe how the creative team navigated various dramatic and musical challenges associated with the opera, generating a final production that was ambiguous and multi-layered in its emotional registers and attitudes towards the past.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Funding Acknowledgements

Our warm thanks to the artists and staff at Victorian Opera and Musica Viva, especially those discussed in this article, for participating in our research. We are also grateful to the editors of this Special Issue, the Parergon general editor, and the journal's anonymous reviewers for their much-valued input. This research was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions CE110001011.