Profiles

Magnus Tessing Schneider

Magnus Tessing Schneider

Forskare

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Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-674 74 83
Email magnus.tessing.schneider@teater.su.se
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Magnus Tessing Schneider, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in Theatre Studies, Department of Culture and Aesthetics. He specializes in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century theatre; relations between dramaturgy, aesthetic theory and scenic-vocal performance practice in Shakespeare and Italian opera; the operas of Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, C. W. Gluck and W. A. Mozart; the librettos of Giovan Francesco Busenello, Ranieri Calzabigi and Lorenzo Da Ponte; historical singers and interrelations of singing and acting; allegory and theatricality; theatre and the Enlightenment; and issues relating to historically informed performance practice. In addition to working as a researcher, he serves as a dramaturgical-historical consultant for opera directors, singers and conductors around the world. 

Research

His current research project, ‘Enlightenment Anthropology and Italian Opera: The Revolutionary Theatre of Ranieri Calzabigi’, is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). In the spring of 2018 he worked as an associate research scholar at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, on the project ‘Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Theater of Giovan Francesco Busenello’: italianacademy.columbia.edu/fellow/magnus-schneider. From 2013 to 2017 he was a fulltime postdoctoral researcher within the six-person research project ‘Performing Premodernity’, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens jubileumsfond): performingpremodernity.com

From 2010 to 2013 he was chief editor of Nordic Theatre Studies, together with Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen. He received his doctoral degree from Aarhus University in 2009 on the thesis The Charmer and the Monument: Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the Light of Its Original Production, and has previously taught at the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen. The cofounder of the Nordic Network for Early Opera together with Björn Ross and Jette Barnholdt Hansen in 2007, he has directed productions of Monteverdi’s Orfeo (2007) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (2011), and of Cavalli’s Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne (2014) in Copenhagen: earlyopera.org
Together with Ruth Tatlow he has edited Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito: A Reappraisal (Stockholm University Press: Stockholm, 2018). Read the book online: https://www.stockholmuniversitypress.se/site/books/10.16993/ban/.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Magnus Tessing Schneider. LIR.journal (11), 23-46

    The opera libretto Comala (1774) by Ranieri Calzabigi has traditionally been regarded as one of the poet’s lesser creations. It has sometimes been dismissed as being too closely based on Melchiorre Cesarotti’s influential Italian translation from 1763 of the eponymous dramatic poem, which James Macpherson included in his 1762 collection of the songs of Ossian, adapted or translated from Gaelic oral poems. In the present article, however, the author argues that Calzabigi’s Comala was not only an independent adaptation but also a highly original attempt to translate the peculiar poetic and cultural features of the Ossianic world – its savagery, sublimity, melancholy, and psychological obscurity – into theatrical terms. In this experimental musical drama, Calzabigi depicts the mysterious death of the overstrung heroine as the culmination of a process of withdrawing physically from the other characters and ultimately from the stage itself, as a metaphor for her gradual withdrawal from life and reality. The article ends with a discussion of Pietro Morandi’s setting of the libretto, performed in Senigallia in 1780, in which Calzabigi’s dramatic choices are translated into music. Adhering closely to the principles of Gluck’s and Calzabigi’s Viennese operas, Morandi’s Comala is the first example of a "reform opera" written specifically for Italy.

  • 2018. Magnus Tessing Schneider.

    The 1623 publication of Procopius’ Secret History shocked the scholarly world. The ancient historian’s rejection of his official account of the reign of Justinian I forced humanists to reflect on the general reliability of historical sources. The article suggests that Giovan Francesco Busenello’s libretto L’incoronazione di Poppea (1643) reflects the challenge posed by Procopius’ book. Though its portrayal of historical figures adheres to Tacitus’ Annals, it plays with the possibility that even Tacitus himself was deceived by Machiavellian rulers. Did he, for example, condemn Nero and Poppaea while praising Octavia because this was the truth, or because Octavia was, in fact, a superior politician who had managed to craft a favourable epitaph for herself?

  • 2018. Magnus Tessing Schneider. European Romantic Review 29 (1), 43-50

    The article explores the early performance history of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1787) at Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre, as a context for Søren Kierkegaard’s famous essay on the opera, which appeared in his philosophical work Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (1843). Focusing on the treatment of the supernatural elements in the opera, the author examines Lauritz Kruse’s Danish singspiel translation of the libretto, which was used by the theater from 1807 to 1839. Kruse turned Lorenzo Da Ponte’s enlightened comedy of manners into a romantic tragedy with religious overtones, but his radical reconceptualization of the drama conflicted with the portrayal of the title role by the Danish-Italian baritone Giovanni Battista Cetti who was the Don Giovanni of Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre from 1822 to 1837, and who partly inspired Kierkegaard’s interpretation. Cetti performed the role as a charming and sympathetic character, probably due to the influence of his teacher Giuseppe Siboni who, in his turn, was probably influenced by Luigi Bassi’s portrayal, the singer for whom Mozart had written the role. Hence the responses of Kierkegaard and other contemporary writers to Mozart’s seducer may be read as attempts to find meaning in a dramaturgically incongruous production.

  • 2018. Magnus Tessing Schneider, Ruth Tatlow.
  • 2017. Magnus Tessing Schneider. Peripeti 26, 29-40

    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1601), the title hero commissions an acting company to perform a play before Claudius, which recalls the murder of his father, but Claudius instead perceives the play as a threat to his life. The article analyses this episode as the dramatization of a real performance of Shakespeare’s Richard II, which took place on 7 February 1601.

  • 2017. Magnus Tessing Schneider. Rousseau on stage, 255-284

    Paride ed Elena, the last of Gluck and Calzabigi’s three reform operas, is studied as a response to Rousseau’s juxtaposition of Italian and French music in the Lettre sur la musique françoise, and of French classical drama and Genevan public festivals in the Lettre à d’Alembert. On the one hand, the opera’s depiction of the cross-cultural love of the Trojan prince and the Spartan queen emerges as a rejection of Rousseau’s depreciation of French music and drama, along with his idealisation of Italian music and Genevan culture. On the other hand, as a theatrical reimagining of Rousseau’s novel Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse, it suggests how he himself transcended these hard-edged dichotomies, paving the way for a new musical-theatrical language.

  • 2016. Magnus Tessing Schneider. Hvad med teaterhistorien?, 259-277
  • 2016. Magnus Tessing Schneider. Mozart in Prague, 403-419
  • 2016. Magnus Tessing Schneider. stage / page / play, 37-54
  • 2015. Magnus Tessing Schneider.

    A reconstruction of the doubling plan for Busenello's and Cavalli's opera "Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne" (1640), with an interpretation.

  • 2014. Magnus Tessing Schneider.

    An interpretation of Busenello's and Cavalli's opera "La Statira, principessa di Persia" (1656), centring on intertextual references to Ariosto's "Orlando furioso".

  • 2013. Magnus Tessing Schneider. The legacy of opera, 103-117
  • 2015. Magnus Tessing Schneider.
  • 2015. Magnus Tessing Schneider.
Show all publications by Magnus Tessing Schneider at Stockholm University

Last updated: September 10, 2019

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