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Opera: The Art of Emotions

The Inaugural Conference of the Opera Special Interest Group of the Musicological Society of Australia in association with ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

The Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
The University of Melbourne

Dates: Friday 30 September - Saturday 1 October 2016
            Conference opening Thursday 29 September, 5pm
Venue: Wyselaskie Auditorium, 29 College Crescent, Parkville
Bookings: Online here.

Download schedule and abstracts


Keynote Presenter

Professor Neal Zaslaw (Cornell University, USA)

Voice, music, drama, poetry, plastic arts and dance combine to create a complex alchemy that makes opera an extraordinary experience monopolising the sight, hearing, imagination and sensibility of the audience. Without doubt, the human passions are at work on the opera stage. This conference aims to look at how emotions have been conceived, performed and experienced across the history of opera. We will interrogate and explore new theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding opera and the histories of emotion in which it operates.

Participants will be encouraged to collaborate in workshops, discussion forums as well as present more traditional papers to develop better insight into how to repopulate history with the oral/aural/gestural complexities of opera as emotional communication.

Performance - La descente d'Orphée aux enfers

Performances of La descente d'Orphée aux enfers, an opera in two acts by the French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1686), will be presented by staff and students of the Early Music Studio, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Date: Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September 2016
Time: 7:30pm 

Venue: Grant Street Theatre, VCA, Southbank
Bookings: Online here. This is a free event.

Download program


Organising committee

  • Michael Halliwell and Alan Maddox (MSA, The University of Sydney)
  • Jane Davidson, Erin Helyard, Frederic Kiernan, Stephen Grant (CHE, The University of Melbourne Hosts)

Important dates

  • Conference opening - 5pm Thursday 29 September
  • Conference closing - 5pm Saturday 1 October

Cost information

Those accepted to participate in the event will be provided with tea and lunch refreshments. Evening
meals and accommodation are to be arranged independently by delegates. A small number of grants
will be available to support postgraduate presenters travelling interstate. Can those interested in a
travel award please include a breakdown of likely travel costs in their proposal submission.

Image: Moritz von Schwind, Queen of the Night, about 1864-1867, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles