Tove Dahlberg's 50% seminar

Tove Dahlberg's 50% seminar "Gender-creative Performance in Contemporary Music" will be held online on the 16 November. Tove is a PhD candidate in Opera. Her doctoral project “Unchain the singer!” explores gender, normativity and artistic agency in opera.

Tove Dahlberg - about her PhD project and 50 % seminar:

In my opinion, on the opera stage, gender is often portrayed in a clichéd and old-fashioned way. In addition, the opera world rests on obsolete structures and strict hierarchies. The art of opera is in need of contemporary transformation! I investigate how gender is performed by opera singers, how norms affect the performance and how this can be challenged. In a larger perspective, this has to do with what singers are expected and "allowed" to do with their bodies and voices in performance, and what possibilities they have to influence the overall interpretation of a piece. In my PhD project, I investigate whether and how new tools, approaches and work models can contribute to a change.

During the seminar, I will present two studies where I have explored the singer's relationship to newly written material. The research focus has been on how gender can be portrayed – vocally and physically – in a norm-creative way, and on how the artistic agency of the singer can be challenged. I will show examples from the opera Beneath the Heart of a Woman  (Sandström & Janzon, 2017) and the concert Song of Songs (Löfberg & Dahlberg, 2018 and Perder, 2011) and talk about how I have worked with issues of gender and normativity in these performances and with expanding my artistic agency in the two productions.

Link to live stream: Tove Dahlberg's 50% seminar

PhD Candidate: Tove Dahlberg, Opera Singer.
Opponent: Elisabet Ljungar, Opera and Theatre Director, Artistic Director and Head of Music Department, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Musik Västernorrland
Supervisors: Wilhelm Carlsson, Professor in Music Dramatic Performance at SKH/Opera Department and Barbro Smeds, Playwright and Professor Emerita

The text (also containing links to sheet music and video documentation) that will be discussed during the seminar is available for anyone who wishes. Please e-mail

The seminar will be held in both English and Swedish. Tove will make her presentation in English, and after that, the seminar will continue in Swedish. The seminar will be documented in audio and video and broadcast live on Youtube in two versions. One version is identical to the event in the Hugo Theatre, with Swedish as the language spoken after the break. The other version will be translated live into English after the break, so that those who do not understand Swedish can attend the entire seminar. For those taking part online, there will be a possibility to ask questions to the candidate or the opponent, or to comment on the seminar, during the discussion with the audience via a chat function in Youtube. 

Tove Dahlberg PhD project