A Crisis of Faith: Towards a rethinking of the concept of Werktreue in staging repertoire operas
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis proposes a rethinking of the concept of Werktreue in the context of staging repertoire operas, departing from the observation that the discourse on Werktreue and the closely related concept of Regietheater is unproductive and emotionally charged. The main problem within the discourse is argued to be that it is based on the presumption of a linear opposition between the two concepts, which can be demonstrated to be artificial. Through the hermeneutical model of the three worlds of a text, Werktreue and Regietheater are understood as dealing primarily with either the world behind the text or in front of the text. A case study is then examined, Graham Vick’s 2018 staging of Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte at the Macerata Opera Festival, through which is demonstrated that the supposed opposition between Werktreue and Regietheater is indeed artificial. Then, counterarguments are provided to Werktreue’s most recurring claims, and a new direction of thinking is proposed. Based on the previously introduced hermeneutical model, which is argued to be a triad conform Chiel Kattenbelt’s definition, a new triad is devised of Werktreue, Regietheater, and Aufführungspraxis (the latter as a substitute for the world of the text in the original triad). The proposition resulting from this is to understand these concepts (and specifically Werktreue) as closely interrelated ideal types that don’t exist separately identifiable in reality, countering their oppositional presupposition and resulting in a more productive basis for discourse. The practice of staging repertoire operas, it is argued, takes place in the interplay of these three concepts.