Nicholas Till, internationally renowned professor of Opera Studies, will, as of November 2019, hold the first Music Theatre and Opera Chair in the Netherlands. Till will combine the chair at the UvA with his professorship at the University of Sussex.
The Pierre Audi Chair in Music Theatre and Opera was established by the Faculty of Humanities at the UvA and the National Opera & Ballet of the Netherlands (DNO). This special chair was created to mark the departure of Pierre Audi from his position as artistic director of the National Opera. Thanks to Audi’s pioneering work, the Dutch National Opera now belongs among the most renowned opera houses in the world. The research within the framework of the Pierre Audi Chair will contribute to the still young field of Opera Studies. This includes theoretical development, research into the social and historical context of opera and music theatre, and analysis of texts, music, media and dramaturgies of opera and music theatre. The focus of the research is on Dutch opera in an international context.
Kati Röttger, professor of Theatre Studies at the UvA: ‘With his background as both a scholar and director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Sussex and his years of experience as a writer and director for the theatre, Nicholas Till is ideally suited to shape this new chair and the substantive collaboration between Dutch National Opera and the UvA. Till will teach Bachelor's and Master's in Theatre Studies and Musicology, stimulate PhD research in the field of opera and music theatre, and strengthen cooperation between the academic world and the world of opera in the Netherlands and internationally.’
Luc Joosten, head of Dramaturgy at the DNO: ‘The roots of the opera are widely spread throughout history, culture and society. So many things come together in opera: not only the arts, but also what people from both the past and the present find important on an emotional level and what their dream and ideals are. The establishment of this chair, in which the study of opera is linked to the practice of opera in the Netherlands and around the world, is an important breakthrough which will help expose the riches that opera has to offer and pass them on to a new generation of students. With the appointment of Nicholas Till, who is regarded as a global specialist in broadening the meaning of opera, DNO and UvA have a unique opportunity to help underline opera’s place on the cultural map and to show more than ever before its societal relevance.’
Nicholas Till (1955) studied history and art history before working as a director, writer and creator of opera and experimental music theatre between 1980-2008. During this time he also pioneered educational and community programmes in opera in the UK. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Surrey in 2002 for his ground-breaking study of Mozart’s operas, Mozart and the Enlightenment (1992), and has published widely on historical and contemporary music, theatre, opera and music theatre. His Cambridge Companion to Opera Studies (2102) has been described as ‘the seminal book in the field opera studies.’ He has taught at institutions such as the Royal College of Music, the Britten-Pears School Aldeburgh, Cal Arts (Los Angeles) and Stanford University. In 2004, he became the first person to hold a chair in opera and music theatre in the United Kingdom, and he is director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Sussex, where has also been director of research for the School of Media, Film and Music. He conducts interdisciplinary historical and theoretical research that applies the methods and theoretical approaches of theatre studies, media studies, cultural studies and critical theory to opera and music theatre.