The Norwegian Opra
Theory and Propaganda Department
Publication 1
1st Dec 2009


The project will consist in forming and running a complete opera house 
which during three years will produce (at least) fifteen new «opras».

The composer and researcher Trond Reinholdtsen will be the dictatorial 
opera director, composer, main performer, director and producer, but 
will also invite artists to take part in different forms of collaborations 
unique for each production. A cheap ground floor apartment in a noisy street in Gamlebyen, 
Oslo will function as the opera house and stage, with all the opera house`s 
traditional functions potentially intact, like PR-department, restaurant, 
programme book-publisher and workers union, where the whole structure of 
the institution will be artistically exploited. The opras will be very 
different in format, from large scenical productions and guest plays 
(«The Norwegian Opra on tour»), to conceptual sketches, recorded invisible 
operas and musical performances.

The Norwegian Opra will function as a parallel to Richard Wagners famous 
Festspielhaus in Bayreuth which was built exclusively to perform Wagners 
own operas.

The main aim for the project will be to investigate possibilities for radical 
and unexpected ways of understanding opera as art genre by approaching the 
whole apparatus of opera as an experimental field:

·Is it possible to strenghten a kind of holistic compositional perspective in 
opera by refusing the traditional splitting up of the artistic process into 
specialized fields like composer, performer/singer, director and producer? 

·What possibilities for visionary and utopian thinking can an extreme 
downscaling of the opera format give?

·What kind of music-theatrical results can one gain by removing the narrative 
of opera, or the voice, or the very scenic event?

·Is it, by establishing a «smaller« form of opera, possible to move opera 
towards a more flexible, more relevant in political and social terms, and more 
receptive for influence from new theatre theory and contemporary art?

·And is it under these circumstances possible to approach a multimedial art 
genre with music as the motor, that on the one hand respects the opera 
tradition of great pathos, excessive emotions and Grössenwahn, and on the 
other hand reflects the conceptualism and critical position of contemporary 
art music?