Opera and the anthropologist: An odd couple?

  • Vlado Kotnik Faculty of Humanities University of Primorska Koper
opera, music, art, anthropology, epistemology


The discussion starts with a mere statement of fact which also denotes the relationship between opera and anthropology: on one hand opera is a quite new and " exotic" topic for anthropologists, on the other anthropology is still perceived as a very strange and unusual approach to opera. The author establishes many reasons and endeavors which suggest that opera and anthropology no longer need to be alien to each other. If social or cultural anthropologists did not go to the opera very often in the past, this has certainly changed. The article thus introduces the work of six anthropologists whose personal and professional affinity for opera has been undoubtedly explicated in their academic and biographical account: Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Leiris, William O. Beeman, Denis Laborde, Paul Atkinson, and author’s opera research. The primary aim of this article is to show that anthropology can say something about the social and cultural phenomenon that throughout the last four hundred years significantly influenced and reflected the identity of Western culture.


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How to Cite
Kotnik, Vlado. 2008. “Opera and the Anthropologist: An Odd Couple?”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 3 (1), 39-70. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v3i1.2.