OPANDA - Opera Fandom in the Digital Age

ID Call: HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF-01 MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships


Sapienza's role in the project: Host Institution

Supervisor: Emanuele Senici


Fellow: Nicolò Palazzetti




Department: History, Anthropology, Religion, Arts and Performing Arts


Project start date: November 1, 2022

Project end date: October 31, 2024



Today, interactions between audiences and theatres occur to a significant extent via online platforms and digital media. OPANDA (Opera Fandom in the Digital Age) studies the impact of these transformative technologies on opera fandom. Although recent research has addressed the digital dissemination of opera, the phenomenon of cyber-fandom remains under-researched. Situated at the intersection of musicology, sociology and media studies, the project asks how opera fans perform their passion digitally. This entails the investigation of their interactions on the web, but the project also considers how cyber-fandom intersects with traditional fan behaviour. In a post-pandemic and hyper-mediatised society in which the divide between stage and screen is constantly blurred, the project reconsiders past audience practices and envisions possible future ones. OPANDA aims to provide a pioneering study of today’s opera fans (i.e. the most active operagoers), including their digital practices and communities. To reach this goal, OPANDA is based on a comparative and qualitative analysis of representative case studies, combining digital ethnography on web communities and fanzines, participant observation at opera companies (La Scala, Paris Opera, the New York Metropolitan Opera), and interviews with fans.

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