Tove Dahlberg's 80% seminar - Interaction and Intimacy

Tove Dahlberg's 80% seminar "Interaction and Intimacy" will be held online on the 25 November. Tove is a PhD candidate in Opera. Her PhD project “Unchain the singer!” explores gender, performance norms and artistic agency in opera.

In Tove Dahlberg's 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! Tove investigates 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 her PhD project, Tove investigates whether and how new tools, approaches and work models can contribute to a change.

Portrayals of sexuality are often closely linked to ideas of gender. In September 2021, Tove conducted a research study on the performance of intimacy. Together with two other singers, a director, a pianist and an intimacy coordinator, she explored the possibilities of working with love scenes in the opera repertoire in a way that takes the singers' personal boundaries into account, while making the performance artistically more interesting. The project also explored how gender can be portrayed – vocally and physically – in a norm-creative way and how the artistic agency of the singer can be expanded through co-creation.

Originally, the study was planned for autumn 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. When the public had access to vaccines, it felt possible to work safely. The participants in the study have all received two doses of vaccine against COVID-19. In addition, before each session, all participants have taken an antigen test to ensure that no one is infected.

The study ended with a research performance. At the 80% seminar, the video documentation of the performance will be shown. This will be followed by a conversation with opponent Karin Helander about the performance and about the text that Tove also has submitted to the seminar. For those who would like to attend the seminar on location, there will be a small amount of seats available in Hugoteatern at the Department of Opera. The seminar will also be streamed live on this web page.

Link to live stream: 


PhD Candidate: Tove Dahlberg, Opera Singer.

Opponent: Karin Helander, Professor of Theatre Science at Stockholm University.

Supervisors: Wilhelm Carlsson, Professor in Music Dramatic Performance at SKH/Opera Department and Tiina Rosenberg, Professor of Theatre Science at Stockholm University.

The text 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 (the video has subtitles in English), and after that, the seminar will continue in Swedish. The seminar will be documented in audio and video and broadcast live on Vimeo 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 Vimeo.

Tove Dahlberg PhD project