Dr. Nicolò Palazzetti tudományos előadása

2022. december 12. 18.00-20.00


Dr. Nicolò Palazzetti tudományos előadása A Zeneakadémia saját szervezésű programja

Opera Fandom in the Digital Age: A Case Study from the Teatro alla Scala in Milan

Az előadás angol nyelvű összefoglalója:


Opera lovers are often portrayed as ‘obsessive and maniacal’ (as reported in the 2020 book Pazzo per l’opera by the music critic Alberto Mattioli). Despite such clichés, musicologists have largely overlooked fans. While a history of opera fandom is missing, fan practices are constantly evolving. Recent scholarship has addressed the digital diffusion of opera. Moreover, digital fan communities are now well known in popular music studies, sound studies and theatre studies. Opera (cyber-)fandom, however, is largely under-researched.

This lecture analyses today’s opera fandom through a qualitative and comparative methodology combining digital ethnography with on-site participant observation at opera houses. Dr. Palazzetti carried out a fieldwork in 2019 in Italy, including participant observation as well as interviews with fans, the administrators of web communities, and the directors of media and communications of different opera houses (e.g. La Scala). He also studied several Italian forums, social media groups and fan sites devoted to opera and he is currently undertaking a fieldwork in other European theatres and countries.

This interdisciplinary research contributes not only to the advancement of opera studies, but also to the advancement of fan studies. In this lecture, Dr. Palazzetti also discusses the extensive background literature available in fan studies about different fan communities (from sport to social tv, from comics to cars). Concepts and methods developed within the field of fan studies may significantly enrich the sociological analysis, as proved by Daniel Cavicchi’s research on nineteenth-century opera lovers (2011) and Claudio Benzecry’s ethnography on Teatro Colón’s fans in Buenos Aires (2011). Fan scholars have extensively looked at the dynamics of fan-based cultures and their engagement with medias. Henry Jenkins’s now classic analysis of fandom (Textual Poachers, 1992), for instance, examines how fans re-create and ‘poach’ media products. Fans develop distinctive patterns of social interaction and new cultural productions emerge from the community’s shared passion. Internet has reinforced fan communities, helping networked fandom in promoting certain sub-cultures (as demonstrated, for instance, by the research of Matthew Hills and Paul Booth).

In a period in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the global energy crisis are challenging our conceptions of live performance, the study of opera fandom is pivotal to reconsider the legacy of a centuries-old practice and looks at its possible futures.


Nicolò Palazzetti is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Music and Theatre at La Sapienza University of Rome. He has recently won a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from the European Commission for researching opera fandom in the digital age. After his studies in Aesthetics at the University of Bologna, he obtained a PhD in Cultural Sociology and Musicology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (2017). From 2017 to 2018, he worked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Birmingham and from 2019 to 2021 as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Strasbourg. Dr. Palazzetti obtained research grants from the Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice, the Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel and the Institute of Musical Research of the University of London. He has presented his research on music, theatre and opera in ten different European countries and has published several essays and articles in international academic journals, including the Journal of Modern Italian Studies, the International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music and The Opera Quarterly. He is the author of the monograph Béla Bartók in Italy: The Politics of Myth-Making, published by The Boydell Press, UK in 2021.