Clemens Räthel

Torsdag (Thursday), 09:00–09:30, H104 (Hörsalen)

Affiliering (affiliation): Universitetet i Bergen/Universität Greifswald, DEU


Mad Hattery!
Johan Ludvig Heiberg and the revolutionary invention of music comedy

In 1825 Johan Ludvig Heiberg’s vaudeville Kong Salomon og Jørgen Hattemager premiered at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. Already before the opening night, protesters required publicly to cancel the production – they feared that such a comic undertaking would damage the national instituton. Nevertheless, Kong Salomon became one of the biggest hits in the theatre’s repertoire and made Heiberg rich and influential.

Almost 200 years later, the name Heiberg is seldomly connected with the comic genre, it is very often forgotten that he was a theatre revolutionary who in his vaudevilles cultivated a new genre that built its success on the comical use of music.

In my paper I want to investigate the comical strategies used by Heiberg in his vaudeville and will discuss the interaction of music and text. Who is the target of Heiberg’s comic, who are we allowed to laugh at and how do melodies evoke laughter?

Om (about):

Clemens Räthel is Associate Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Bergen. Starting from April 2022, he will be professor for Modern Scandinavian Literatures at the University of Greifswald. He has finished his PhD at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2014 with a work on Jewish stage characters in Denmark, Sweden and Norway during the 18th and 19th centuries, outlining the interactions between written drama, actual performances and the political as well as social situations of Jews in Scandinavia.

His current research focuses on queer/ing narrations of the Scandinavian welfare state in theatre and literature, the construction of national theatres and their multiple meanings as well as Jewish-Scandinavian relations.

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