"Powerful spirit": notes on some practice as research

Symonds, Dominic (2013) "Powerful spirit": notes on some practice as research. In: The legacy of opera: reading music theatre as experience and performance. Themes in Theatre (7). Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 209-228. ISBN 9789042036918

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My aim in this chapter is to take the paradigm of Practice as Research and to use it not as a methodology but as a critical theory. In doing this I will not only seek to upend--or perhaps more appropriately level--the perrceived hierarchy between practical and theoretical enquiry, but also to use one (practice/theory) as the other (theory/practice) in a playful example of "critical impro". In particular, I will consider the develiopment of music theatre as an extended research enquiry with which theoreticians (continue to) engage in their scholarly practice. I pick up on three particular aspects of Practice as Research and explore these in relation to Monteverdi's L'Orfeo (1607): I consider firtsly the way that practical research findings are most vividly expressed in the language of their idiom (in this case, the language of the musical stage); secondly, that ongoing creative responses by collaborative or subsequent practitioners will refine and sometimes reveal new research knowledge; and thirdly, that the understanding borne out of practice will often challenge or contradict anticipatted outcomes, leading to new insights. I suggest that L'Orfeo marks an early stage in what can be seen as an ongoing Practice as Research project; opera's development. I have suggested that the powerful ideologies and paradigms of thought at the inception of that Practice as Research project, which caused early resistance to new findings being noticed, have more recently begun to shift so that valuable insights in the area of music theatre can be explored by project participants.

Keywords:Practice as Research, PARIP, L'Orfeo, Monteverdi, Opera, Critical impro, Digitised
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:12022
Deposited On:02 Oct 2013 12:03

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