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Title: Democratising opera : Opera North and the access agenda in action
Author: Daniel, Jennifer Susan
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the role of Opera North as the publicly funded opera company for the north of England, addressing the ways in which the company embodies, mediates and fulfils an agenda for access, education and innovation. A broadly ethnographic approach is taken, through case studies of three productions and the work surrounding them: the commissioned ‘operetta’ Skin Deep by David Sawer and Armando Iannucci (2009), the commissioned ‘family opera’ Swanhunter by Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton (2009 and 2015), and the ‘staged concert’ version of Wagner’s Ring cycle for Leeds Town Hall and touring concert venues (2011-14). The nature and origins of the access agenda are explored, including the legacy of Opera North’s parent company English National Opera, and the post-war imperative of John Maynard Keynes, and his Arts Council, to fund decentralised and geographically dispersed ‘high’ cultural forms. Recent political agendas are also pertinent, particularly the developing aim of the UK’s ‘New Labour’ government (1997-2010) for cultural instrumentalism to address social issues. This is explored particularly in relation to the commission, by Opera North’s Education and Projects departments, of Swanhunter, in 2009. The access agenda and the works explored in the case studies are situated in their historical, political and artistic contexts, to give a cohesive account of Opera North’s cultural work in and for the north of England and beyond.
Supervisor: McKechnie, Kara ; Cowgill, Rachel ; Farnes, Richard Sponsor: AHRC ; Fund for Women Graduates
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available