“Digging in the Score” : Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Analyzing Opera Stage Direction

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Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Czech and Slovak theatre directors of the 20th century reflected extensively upon the theory and practice of opera staging. This resulted in several published and unpublished writings of Czech and Slovak theatre directors. I aim to analyze conceptual metaphors that appear in the writings of Czech and Slovak opera directors and the role of conceptual metaphors in these documents. I rely on the Conceptual Metaphor Theory developed by Lakoff and Johnson (e. g. 1980) and further elaborated as the audiovisual metaphor theory by Fahlenbrach (e. g. 2010). The presentation focuses on conceptual metaphors in theoretical treatises on opera staging by Ota Zítek, Rudolf Walter, Miloš Wasserbauer, Václav Věžník and some others. My analysis reveals the presence of common conceptual metaphors in the directors’ writings. Literally “coming out of” (e.g. Wasserbauer, Věžník) or proceeding from the score, the directors stress the importance of concepts and ideas that they consider fundamental for their interpretation of an operatic work and for audience’s apprehension and perception of the opera. The application of Conceptual Metaphor Theory to the directors’ writings shows some common Czech and Slovak stereotypes in the theory and practice of opera stage direction.
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