Jelena Novak works in the area of musicology, opera studies, performance studies, dramaturgy and criticism. She is postdoctoral research fellow at CESEM, New University of Lisbon with project “Opera beyond Drama”. She has been a founding Committee member of the Society for Minimalist Music and founding member of editorial collective TkH [Walking Theory]. In 2013 she won the Thurnau Award for Music-Theatre Studies. Her latest book is Postopera: Reinventing the Voice-Body (Ashgate, 2015). Currently with John Richardson she prepares edited volume Einstein on the Beach: Opera beyond Drama (Routledge, 2018).
• (2018, forthcoming) Einstein on the Beach: Opera beyond Drama (co-edited with John Richardson), New York, Routledge.
• (2016) “Televisual Opera after TV”, in: Matthias Henke und Sara Beimdieke (Hg.): Das Wohnzimmer als Loge. Von der Fernsehoper zum medialen Musiktheater, Reihe: Thurnauer Schriften zum Musiktheater, Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, pp. 177-193.
• (2015) Postopera: Reinventing the Voice-Body, Farnham, Ashgate ISBN 978-1-4724-4103-4
• (2012) “Voices beyond corporeality: Towards the Prosthetic Body in Opera”, Studies in Musical Theatre, Volume 6, Number 1, March 2012 , pp. 73-88(16).
The struggle between the predominance of music and predominance of drama brought opera to several reforms in its history. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, in parallel to tendencies that took place in theatre, some recent operas created in late-capitalist Western societies become post-dramatic. Theatre scholar Hans-Thies Lehmann theorizes post-dramatic theatre as a standalone work of art and not theatre as the illustration of a dramatic text. While in dramatic theatre text and plot are primary, in post-dramatic theatre all phenomena involved are given equal attention. Developments in recent opera show that it does not break with verbal text, but questions its dramatic principles. Referring to some emblematic theoretical foundations of opera studies – “Opera and Drama” by Richard Wagner (1851), and “Opera as Drama” by Joseph Kerman (1952) – the subject of this research project investigates ‘Opera beyond Drama’. The aim is to show how opera becomes post-dramatic, and how that problematizes its social status and cultural function.