Semiosis of the Opera The Knock by Aleksandra Vrebalov

  • Nataša Crnjanski University of Novi Sad, Academy of Arts
Keywords: The Knock, military wives, semiosis, sign, symbol, icon, index


The opera The Knock was commissioned by the Glimmerglass Festival and was planned to be performed in 2021. Due to the pandemic the premiere was postponed, but Glimmerglass decided to film the opera and stream it on YouTube. The screened version of The Knock is the subject of this paper. Despite the setback, the opera had its live premiere on June 23, 2023 at the Cincinnati Opera House.

The libretto of The Knock was inspired by the autobiographical testimonies of military wives which Deborah Brevoort, the librettist, relied upon. Inspired by the strong emotions of the story along with the inner monologue of the characters, Aleksandra Vrebalov created music which not only reflects these inner states, but together with the text and image creates an inextricable semantic network, or in other words, a semiosis of the artwork.

Author Biography

Nataša Crnjanski, University of Novi Sad, Academy of Arts

Natasa Crnjanski, PhD Music Theorist, Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. During her studies, she has won a Special Award for her results from the University of Novi Sad, as well as a scholarship from the Norwegian Government. She finished her postgraduate (2008) and doctoral studies (2014) in Music Theory with Music Semiotics as her main field of research. Since 2016 she has served as Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Zbornik radova Akademije umetnosti (Collection of papers of Academy of Arts). She is a member of the International Musicological Society (IMS), International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS) and Serbian Society for Music Theory (SDMT). Her main field of research is Music Semiotics. Nataša Crnjanski also has extensive experience as a choral conductor, manager and singer.