Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT)

Doctoral students


Justin GrizeThe Animal on the Musical Stage.   

A practice-based project.

My research is centred on the presence of animals as characters on the musical stage - an extremely fertile source of metaphor and meaning which is just now beginning to be exploited.  This will include exploration of the possible ways of collaboration between biologists and performance makers, with a view to creating a work of music theatre which has as its main focus not the human experience, but the insect experience. I am keen to have the final piece informed as much by scientific as dramatic or musical thinking.  The possibilities are very wide-ranging, from a "traditional" human-performer-as-insect approach, to approaches which incorporate the audio or visual presence of insects into a performance, or which use technology to mediate between insect performers and a human audience - or even vice-versa.  The project is informed by current thinking about the ethics of human beings' relationship to the non-human world. 

Alessio Francesco Palmieri-Marinoni

The aim of this research is to investigate the history of the stage costumes for Richard Wagner “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, starting from 1886 to the most recent production. The intent is to discover the meaning of stage costume in Wagner, its relation with set-design and how costume has been perceived during the twentieth-century and its role on the stage. In my research I will analyse various keyv productions of The Ring (Siegfried Wagner, Wieland and and Wolfgang Wagner; E. Preetorius; P. Chereau; P. Hall; H. Kupfer; A. Kirchener; F. Goetz; K. Kastorf; P. Konwitschny; T. Dorst; etc.) in order to chart the different ways in which such productions imagine and present costume, and its link with the stage set. This close examination will provide a new analysis of these productions and will help us to understand why this “rejection" of historical costume took place many decades after the move to abstraction in set design. At the end of my analysis I will answer the following questions:
- Why, after World War II, has there been a move away from "historical" and "realist" approaches in staging the “Ring”?
- How did this move take place?
- Why does the “classical costume” – if present – have an ironic meaning?
- To what extent did the idea of “Germans” and “Germany” affect the change?
- How has this change modified the idea of “Unity” imagined by Wagner? (The “materialization of the idea”)

Thanos Polymeneas-Liontiris

Posthumanism and the Remediation of Music Theatre

A practice-based research project on posthuman notions in experimental music theatre & opera: it aims to address whether opera can be co-authored through the interaction between audience, performers and technology. More specifically, the study engages in the development of interactive and immersive music theatre/opera works, to survey the role of voice, music, space, audience and technology in the context of this hybrid gesamtkunstwerk. The study also investigates possible links between interactive/immersive processes and the dramaturgical affordances, semantics and aesthetic specificities of such type of work. In order to respond to the research questions I have developed a series of works, most of them based on Heiner Müller’s play Despoiled Shore/Medea Material/Landscape with Argonauts. Overall, the research has been following an ethnomethodological model, with data being gathered throughout the creative process from the perspectives of the main different stakeholders: the lead-researcher and practitioner (myself), the performers and the audience that experienced and contributed to the performances. The research’s original contribution aims to share a perspective on novel models of audience engagement in experimental music theatre/opera: how such models could suggest notions of posthumanism, the significance and relevance of these notions for the current art context.
A Magnificent Crossbreeding of Protein and Tinplate
A generative music theatre performance with audience interactive/participatory aspects, based on Heiner Muller’s Despoiled Shore/Medeamaterial/Landscape with Argonauts. Created by Thanos Polymeneas.  
Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, 5-9pm, Monday February 13 2017


Mario FrendoThe Musicalisation of the Theatrical Performance. 

A practice-based project taking Grotowski's theory and practice of the musicalisation of theatrical performance as the basis for an examination of the potential of such approaches from the perspective of a composer. 

Cecelia Wee.  Documenting Live Art. 

An examination of the practical, epistemological and aesthetic issues involved in the documentation of Live Art. Completed 2012.

Asma MundrawalaTheatre for Development in Pakistan.

An examination of the impact of western NGO and Aid agencies on the development of theatre and performing arts in contemporary Pakistan. Completed 2010.

Dylan RobinsonThe relationship between musicology and musical performance.

A practice-based project to reassess the relationships between musicology and music performance, developing performative and artistic methodologies for musicology and conceptually-based performance practices for music. The research addresses the importance for musicology to develop performative and visual research methodologies that critique the limits of written discourse and explore alternative modes of critical inquiry. This research challenges the assumption that artistic methodologies are fundamentally ineffective forms of knowledge transmission. Completed 2009.  

Daniel PloegerSonic Prosthetics in Digital Performance: hypermediacy and spatial presence.

A practice-based project on the sonification of biometric signals in performance art. 

From the mid-1990s, sensor interfaces for personal computers have become available to artists at relatively low cost. Since then, a substantial amount of research has been done into the use of biometric data for sound synthesis. However, this research has almost exclusively been concerned with technical innovations and has rarely addressed issues of presence and the politics of the technologized body in performance art. Correspondingly, most performance art based on the sonification of biometric signals has primarily been focused on creating original sonic material, rather than thematizing the relationship between the employed technology and the performing body.

My research project is aimed at connecting recent technical research on body sonification in sound art with current debates in media theory and posthumanism, specifically with discourses on changing understandings of the concept of 'presence' within mediatized environments. Accordingly, the project is aimed at the analysis and development of artistic approaches to body sonification that draw attention to hypermediate interactions between the visceral body and technological extensions, and, within this context, instrumentalize different methods of sound spatialization to explore the experience of a sonified body's presence. Starting point of the project is a conceptualization of sound generated with biometric data as 'sonic prosthetics', which is based on a posthuman notion of the subject as a material-informational entity. The theoretical discourse of the project functions as a framework for the development of a novel type of performance body suit, equipped with biometric sensors and loudspeakers. The outcome of the research will be a written thesis and a performance work with the developed performance prosthesis.