Opera and "New Musicology"

Master class with Susan McClary

Organised by Annemette Kirkegaard

Time: September 22, 10 am — 4 pm

Place: University of Copenhagen, Musicology, Klerkegade 1, room 1

Registration: Kirsten Zeuthen by September 12.


  • 10 am-1 pm: Individual supervision by Susan McClary. Please apply to Annemette Kirkegaard as soon as possible.
  • 2-4 pm: Seminar. Lecture by Susan McClary, followed by short project presentations.


Twenty years ago, serious musicological studies of opera concentrated on formal analysis or the production of critical editions. Not surprisingly, the composers favored in such enterprises were Mozart and Wagner; nineteenth-century Italian operas (even those by Verdi) were regarded as too accessible and in little need of scholarly explanation. Many of us who came to be identified with “New Musicology” have focused our efforts on opera, in part because the issues we wish to examine — gender, sexuality, performance, the body, emotional expression, cultural ideologies, exoticism, musical meaning — are most powerfully and obviously present in works that combine music with stagecraft and dramatic plots, and that appeal to popular audiences.

Suggested Reading:

McClary. Georges Bizet: Carmen (Cambridge UP, 1992)

Kramer, Lawrence. “Culture and Musical Hermeneutics: The Salome Complex,” Cambridge Opera Journal 2 (1990).