Nyman, Inka-Maria: The Many Faces of Opera. A discourse analytical study of the construction of Finnish National Opera in the public debate in Finnish media during a leadership crisis 1.1.2007–31.5.2009

This study examines conceptions of Finnish National Opera (FNO) in the public debate in Finnish media 1.1.2007–31.5.2009. During that period, the management of FNO was replaced and FNO and its funding was discussed in media. The conceptions are analysed from the perspective of discourse analysis, focusing on how FNO is constructed in social practices. The aim of the study is to identify different discourses about FNO and analyse their mutual relationships.
The study presents four different discourses about FNO. Within the business discourse, expectations on FNO are enterprise-like and the institution is placed in a business context. Within the art institution discourse, on the other hand, producing high-class art is seen as the most important task of FNO. Within the elitism discourse, FNO is constructed as an expensive hobby of the elite classes with nothing to do with the people, whereas FNO within the national discourse is seen as the preserver of the national cultural heritage and a national cultural institution, belonging to every Finnish citizen.
When analysing the relations between the discursive conceptions, the concept of “order of discourse” is applied (Foucault 1984; Fairclough 1992; Winther Jørgensen & Phillips 2000). Business and art institution discourses together form the order of discourse “art against economy”, whereas elitism and national discourses belong to the order of discourse “FNO and the society”. The discourses within a certain order of discourse are aware of, argument against and shape each other. Within the order of discourse “art against economy”, ideas can be traced back to the dichotomy art-economy, whereas similarities to the conceptions within the order of discourse “FNO and the society” can be found in the birth and history of FNO.