Prof. Dr Clemens Räthel (Greifswald): Opera/Nation-Building. Perspectives on the new opera house in Copenhagen


Spotlight Lecture: Symphonic Music and Opera

When in 1967 the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez in a polemic move urged to blow up all opera houses he manifested the crises of a European institution. Opera, he claimed, had become a bourgeoise, exclusive and self-referential art-museum. Taking a closer look at the developments in the Scandinavian countries, however, Boulez’ polemic appears less relevant. After the Second World War, “Nordic” opera enters a phase of prosperity culminating in the spectacular new opera houses in Helsinki (1993), Copenhagen (2005), Oslo (2008), and Reykjavik (2011). But what makes this seemingly elitist art – again – so popular? In my talk I aim to cast light on the interactions between urban, political, and aesthetic dimension of opera in Denmark and further the idea that these encounters between real and imagined places (re-)shape urban, national, and cultural identities.

Verena Liu, Arne Segelke, Alexander Waszynski
Programme (PDF)
The lecture will take place as a hybrid event. If you want to follow the lecture online via Zoom, please contact us at baltic-peripetiesuni-greifswaldde.

IRTG “Baltic Peripeties – Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes”
Institut für Deutsche Philologie
Rubenowstraße 3, 17489 Greifswald



  • Joint Programme: Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO); DFG International Research Training Group Baltic Peripeties – Narratives of Reformations, Revolutions and Catastrophes; MA Programme History and Culture of the Baltic Sea Reg


  • Hörsaal, Anbau, Rubenowstraße 2 B
    Rubenowstraße 2 B
    17489 Greifswald

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