Lea Luka Sikau

Di28Mai18:15Di19:45Lea Luka SikauRehearsing New Opera: Ecologies of Production VeranstaltungsartVortrag


While moments of performance have often taken centre stage in scholarship on contemporary musical and theatrical practice, this talk conceptualises staged music – and new opera in particular – as rehearsal. With accounts of entire rehearsal phases, I shift the focus to the development process of world premiere productions in Europe to sound out the wider agential networks at play. Rehearsal ethnography functions as a method to further demystify operatic performance, decanonise scholarly approaches to the academic field and diversify access to current practices. 

Evolving with schedules and studios, as well as with computational technologies, biological matter and production teams, new operas undergo a process of ‘becoming’ from composition to staging which negotiates relationships beyond human life. From posthumous opera divas to queer ecologies, operatic stories narrate the recalibration of congenital bodies and their processes rehearse posthuman existence within anthropocentric operatic structures. I map the sonic agencies of new opera at the intersection of opera studies, critical posthumanism and ethnography. Focusing on the most rehearsal-intense art form within institutionalised structures, I examine practices that mostly get invisibilized. 

The talk will tap into two case studies of new opera, Marina Abramović’s 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (Bayerische Staatsoper, 2020) and Sivan Eldar and Cordelia Lynn’s Like Flesh (Opéra de Lille, 2022). The operatic homage of performance artist Abramović in honour of Maria Callas raises questions about difference in operatic repetition, reconfigures ideas of musical authorship and fosters intermundane collaboration. Looking into the recording and rehearsal stages of Sivan Eldar and Cordelia Lynn’s eco-themed opera Like Flesh, I confront the post-anthropocentric display of eco-sensitive narratives with material trajectories and antifungal production practices. The examined cases function to expand the academic discourse on operatic afterlives by scrutinising new opera as rehearsal, entangled in the probing of protean posthuman ‘becoming’.


Dr. Lea Luka Sikau (she/her) is an Artist-Researcher, with a Ph.D. on critical posthumanism, new opera and rehearsal ethnography from the University of Cambridge. She lectured on artistic research processes at Humboldt University Berlin and Seoul National University. Sikau has been a Bavarian American Academy Fellow at Harvard University’s Mellon School for Performance and Theater Research and was awarded with the Bavarian Cultural Award for her research at MIT’s Center for Art, Science and Technology. She has worked with some of the most sought-after visionaries in the arts such as Romeo Castellucci, Marina Abramović and Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll). As a media artist and mezzosoprano, Sikau was commissioned by the European Commission (S+T+ARTS), ligeti centre Hamburg, Ars Electronica Festival, transmediale Berlin, Impakt Utrecht, Ensemble Modern and Climate Week NYC.

Seminarraum SR III im Institut für Theaterwissenschaft der Freien Universität Berlin
Grunewaldstraße 35, 12165 Berlin

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28. Mai 2024 18:15 - 19:45(GMT+02:00)

Freie Universität Berlin

Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin