Virtual Opera, or Opera between the Ears

Nicholls, David (2004) Virtual Opera, or Opera between the Ears. Journal of the Royal Music Association, 129, (1), 100-142. (doi:10.1093/jrma/129.1.100).


Full text not available from this repository.

Original Publication URL:


A number of authors, including John Covach and especially Edward Macan, have investigated the links between art music and progressive rock. This article builds on and extends such work by positing, defining, discussing and dissecting a hybrid genre I term virtual opera. Exemplified by such albums as The Who’s Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Genesis’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) and Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage (1979), each of which is subjected to detailed examination, virtual operas find their ideal site of performance between the ears of individual listeners, rather than on stage or screen. In each case, the aural and visual dimensions of the albums combine to create multi-layered musico-dramatic narratives, freed from the usual performance constraints associated with either opera or rock.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/jrma/129.1.100
ISSNs: 0269-0403 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Music
ePrint ID: 37503
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 22 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item