Hanna Fontana


Tohtorikoulutettava / PhD student, Arts Management

Vissi d’Arte, work as passion and calling.
Narrative study of the work and careers of performing artists

In my PhD study, I will describe and analyse the relationship regarding the work and career of the performing artists (opera singers and ballet dancers) with a narrative approach. My material will consist of theme interviews with opera singers and ballet dancers from six different organizations: Finnish National Opera and Ballet, Stockholm Royal Opera, Norwegian Opera, Royal Danish Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, and the Royal Opera House in London. In common with these artistic professions is that most of the people have started the preparation to the profession already at the childhood. I will focus on artists with an employment, in order to follow a longer life career.

Theoretical framework of my study will base on the research of the Work as Calling theory,  and the Psychology of Passion (DMP, dualistic model). I will look at these theories from the point of view of the work ability and well-being at work.

I have chosen the narrative approach, as I am particularly interested in the stories and experiences about the career choices, meaningfulness, challenges, passion, roles, stage work, different phases in the life, fulfilled or broken dreams, and identity as a performing artist.

I have graduated as Master of Music from Sibelius Academy in 1992, from the Music Pedagogy department. After that, I have made a long working career in the Arts Administration. Since 1998, I work as HR Manager at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. My work includes HR issues like guidelines and policies, recruitments, internal information, supervisor coaching, strategy work, among others. In addition to my HR duties, I work as a lecturer and conflict mediator. International networks through Opera Europa organization has given me the opportunity to utilize my international contacts for the PhD studies.