Sussex professor is the first Pierre Audi Chair at the University of Amsterdam and Dutch National Opera
By: MARGARET Ousby
Last updated: Monday, 24 February 2020
Nicholas Till, Professor of Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Sussex, has been appointed to the prestigious new Pierre Audi Chair in Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Amsterdam and Dutch National Opera.
The Pierre Audi Chair celebrates the contribution of artistic director Pierre Audi, who served as artistic director with the Dutch National Opera & Ballet (DNO) from 1988. Thanks to Audi’s pioneering work, the DNO is among the most renowned opera houses in the world. The Chair is a joint appointment by DNO and the University of Amsterdam’s faculty of humanities.
Professor Till will combine the Pierre Audi Chair with his professorship at the University of Sussex. Asked about the new role he said: “I'm delighted to have been appointed to the new Pierre Audi Chair. This is a unique venture, bringing a national opera company and a distinguished university humanities faculty together to further knowledge and theoretical understanding of opera and music theatre, and to promote new creative work.”
Announcing the appointment of Professor Till, Kati Röttger, Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam said: “With his background as both a scholar and his years of experience as a writer and director for the theatre, Nicholas Till is ideally suited to shape this new chair and the substantive collaboration between the Opera and the University.”
The appointment brings together all the strands of Professor Till’s career as both a scholar and creative practitioner in opera and music theatre. He explains: “For the opera company I will promote knowledge of opera and music theatre in the Netherlands in an international context, and undertake research in new forms of opera and music theatre. And for the university I will devise courses that relate to the repertory of the opera company, giving writers, composers, directors and performers the opportunity to experience the full complexity of this great multimedia art form at first hand. I will also supervise PhD research in opera and music theatre, and undertake theoretical research in the field.”
Luc Joosten, Head of Dramaturgy at DNO said: “With the appointment of Nicholas Till, an internationally renowned professor of opera studies who is regarded as a global specialist in broadening the meaning of opera, we have a unique opportunity to help underline opera’s place on the cultural map and to show more than ever before its societal relevance. The establishment of this chair, in which the study of opera is linked to the practice of opera in the Netherlands and around the world, is an important breakthrough which will help expose the riches that opera has to offer and pass them on to a new generation of students.”
At the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Sussex, Professor Till has worked closely with a number of British opera companies. In the new Pierre Audi Chair he will be able to develop ideas in partnership with the Dutch National Opera over an extended period.
Upon taking the chair in November, Professor Till immediately started planning his contribution to the Dutch National Opera’s 2020 Opera Forward Festival in March, and ideas for an exhibition based on materials from the company’s archive. He will also work on a book about opera in the Netherlands.