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Emotion as Multiple: Rehearsing Voyage to the Moon

Browning, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7013-7959 (2020). Emotion as Multiple: Rehearsing Voyage to the Moon. In: Davidson, J. W., Halliwell, M. & Rocke, S. (Eds.), Opera, Emotion and the Antipodes. (pp. 192-218). Routledge.


This chapter presents an ethnographic study of the process of rehearsing Voyage to the Moon, a modern-day pasticcio opera. Drawing on observations of the rehearsals and interviews with the production team, it explores rehearsal room cultures that often remain hidden behind closed doors. The article uses several musical numbers within the opera as windows onto major elements both of this production and of wider operatic culture – voice, movement and gesture, staging and costume, and instrumental music – in order to describe a creative process that was idiosyncratic and contingent, yet governed by far-reaching normative ideas about opera, artistry, professionalism, and expressive culture. The central aim of the article is to show how the Voyage rehearsals incorporated several contrasting attitudes towards emotion and music. The creative team brought to the production a variety of ideas about what emotions are and what they do, their historical and cultural specificity, and their place within contemporary operatic culture. I argue that it was through the rehearsal process that these ideas – often tacit, as much a matter of practice as of discourse – were brought into relationship, overlaying and re-inflecting each other in ways that had significant consequences for the final production.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Opera, Emotion and the Antipodes, Volume II: Applied Perspectives: Compositions and Performances on 30 December 2020, available online:
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Music
Text - Accepted Version
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