A reception history of opera in Cape Town : tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985-2015)

Muller, Wayne (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this dissertation an historical narrative is constructed of the reception of opera performances in Cape Town between 1985 and 2015 as reported on in the Cape Times and Die Burger. The study is theoretically situated in reception theory, specifically as articulated in Musicology by Carl Dahlhaus in Foundations of Music History. Reception histories are built on the social responses to art, and in the case of this study, opinions and views on opera were gathered from journalistic articles published specifically in the Western Cape daily newspapers, the Cape Times and Die Burger. In Chapter 1, the current literature on opera history in South Africa is reviewed, and the theoretical framework is discussed. Also in this chapter, is an overview of the South African media landscape, which serves as a contextual framework and perspective from which the primary sources (journalistic articles) were written. The research methodology is also explained in terms of the research design, data collection and the analysis of that data by using content analysis as methodology. An historical context and framework for this reception history is given in Chapter 2. The researcher revisits the historiography of opera on the basis of three identified historical patterns (addressed in the three parts of this chapter): the political enablers of opera, the professionalization of opera, and the introduction and dominance of nineteenth-century operas in the repertoire performed in Cape Town over a period of about two hundred years. In Chapter 3, the results of the study is presented as a reception history of opera in Cape Town. Four historical patterns were identified by the researcher, and this chapter is accordingly structured in four parts: the reigning aesthetics of Western European operas, the transformation of the opera industry, strategies towards contemporary relevance and Africanisation, as well as the performance of indigenous South African operas. The reception of opera in Cape Town shows that there had been a move over a period of thirty years towards the creation of a distinctly South African operatic expression and aesthetic, which aimed to preserve the musical and theatrical elements of Western European opera while fusing it with music, stories and settings that have indigenous South African roots.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie tesis word ʼn narratiewe geskiedenis geskep van die resepsie van opera-opvoerings in Kaapstad tussen 1985 en 2015, soos oor berig is in die Cape Times en Die Burger. Die studie is teoreties gesetel in resepsie-teorie, soos spesifiek in Musikologie geartikuleer deur Carl Dahlhaus in Foundations of Music History. Resepsiegeskiedenisse word saamgestel uit sosiale response op kuns, en in die geval van hierdie studie is opinies en perspektiewe op opera uit joernalistieke artikels versamel wat spesifiek in die Wes-Kaapse dagblaaie Cape Times en Die Burger gepubliseer is. In Hoofstuk 1 word ʼn kritiese analise van die huidige literatuur oor operageskiedenis in Suid-Afrika gelewer, en die teoretiese raamwerk word in besonderhede bespreek. Ook in hierdie hoofstuk is daar ʼn oorsig van die Suid-Afrikaanse media-landskap, wat dien as ʼn kontekstuele raamwerk en perspektief waaruit hierdie primêre bronne (joernalistieke artikels) geskryf is. Die navorsingsmetodologie word ook verduidelik in terme van die navorsingsontwerp, dataversameling en die analise van daardie data deur die gebruik van inhoudsanalise as metodologie. ʼn Historiese konteks en raamwerk vir die resepsiegeskiedenis word in Hoofstuk 2 gegee. Die navorser ontleed opnuut die historiografie van opera aan die hand van drie historiese patrone wat geïdentifiseer is (en in die drie dele van hierdie hoofstuk aangespreek word): die politieke bestelle wat opera bevorder het, die professionalisering van opera, en die oorheersing van negentiende-eeuse operas in die repertorium wat in Kaapstad oor ʼn tydperk van ongeveer twee honderd jaar opgevoer is. In Hoofstuk 3 word die resultate van hierdie studie aangebied as ʼn resepsiegeskiedenis van opera in Kaapstad. Vier historiese patrone is deur die navorser geïdentifiseer, en hierdie hoofstuk is daarvolgens in vier dele gestruktureer: die heersende estetika van Westerse Europese opera, die transformasie van die operabedryf, strategieë om eietydse relevansie en Afrikanisering te bewerkstellig, asook die opvoering van inheemse Suid-Afrikaanse operas. Die resepsie van opera in Kaapstad wys dat daar oor ʼn tydperk van dertig jaar ʼn skuif was tot die skep van ʼn unieke Suid-Afrikaanse opera-uitdrukking en -estetika wat gepoog het om die musikale en teaterelemente van Westerse Europese opera te bewaar en te vermeng met musiek, stories en plasings wat inheemse Suid-Afrikaanse wortels het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105193
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