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NASJONALT FORSKNINGSINSTITUTT med regional forankring og internasjonal relevans 

Hummer og risgrøt

Om kvalitetsforståelser i det norske operafeltet


Although the Norwegian opera field is often linked to the National Opera in Oslo, it extends throughout the entire country, i.e. being part of extensive support for regional and local opera production. This article discusses how different quality understandings are articulated, understood and negotiated in an opera discourse characterized by numerous well-known cultural policy dichotomies, e.g. national / regional, amateur-based / professional, institutional / freelance, and diversity / elite. More specifically, it asks what quality understandings characterize the Norwegian opera field? The analysis is based on a comprehensive ethnography from ten operas. We find that the field is deeply divided in terms of both understanding and applying the quality concept. In particular, small opera institutions advocate an expanded quality thinking, where quality in a traditional sense (focusing on mainly artistic quality) is supplemented and in some cases even replaced with quality in terms of building the operating field as a whole.