Meyerhold, Director of Opera: cultural change and artistic genres

Dragasvic, Dolja. 2005. Meyerhold, Director of Opera: cultural change and artistic genres. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This dissertation on Meycrhold situates his theatre practice, and, notably, his work on
opera in the context of the changing political and cultural climate in Russia during the
period 1905 - 1939 and its impact on developing artistic genres. It studies the way
different genres in his theatre interlocked with, anticipated or captured cultural
changes in relation to the aesthetics of the World of Art group, Imperial Theatres and
the Soviet Policy on the arts and theatre. Meyerhold's work encapsulated the main
tendencies and problems of the Russian avant-garde at the time, and the educational
role of the arts in relation to the goal of social progress. The newly developing
relationship between art and Soviet society was complex, where artists learned from
everyday life at the same time as the public learned from art. In this context, concepts
such as proletarian culture and artistic synthesis, in respect of the role of the arts are
of vital importance to the argument of the thesis.
Scholarly research on Meycrhold has predominantly focused on the director's work in
dramatic theatre, not on his work on opera, a field that is one of the most important
aspects of his practice as a whole. Meyerhold wanted to bridge the gap between the
spectator and the performer, to create a unified theatrical experience by utilising all
the arts as epitomised in operatic performance. Despite each genre presenting its own
problems, which resulted in treatments of staging relevant to it, Meyerhold sought to
bring theatre and opera together into an integrated performance -a spectacle set to
music. The cross pollination between the arts in the theatre established new ways of
perceiving and creating performances. His rewriting of the score and libretto for
dramatic purposes significantly opened up new possibilities for staging opera.
Mcycrhold established new theatrical techniques drawn directly from musical
terminology and structures. The director became an author of a production creating
tightly constructed musical, theatrical and visual compositions on the stage, which
sought to capture and commemorate the spirit of the age.
This interdisciplinary research analyses the aesthetic principles of music, art and
drama, which have usually been separated in academic study. The methodology
applied consists of an empirical and analytic study

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)



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Date Deposited:

12 Nov 2014 12:24

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:05


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