Dr Mario Frendo

Dr Mario Frendo

Dr Mario Frendo


Senior Lecturer

Room 128
Old Humanities Building
University of Malta
  +356 2340 2988
My main area of research in theatre and performance is interdisciplinarity. More specifically I am interested in contemporary opera making, music-theatre theories and practices, relationships between performance and philosophy particularly Nietzsche’s performative perspectives, and the impacts of musical and oral traditions on the development of ancient Greek tragedy. I obtained my PhD in 2013 from the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at the University of Sussex (UK) under the guidance of Nicholas Till. My doctoral research project investigated the development of alternative dramaturgies generated via musical strategies. I am currently Head of the Department of Theatre Studies where I deliver lectures related to theatre histories, interdisciplinary practices, musicality in performance, and conduct practical modules on performance making.

Following a twelve-year experience as professional musician (violin and viola) with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, in 2006 I graduated with an MA in music composition from the University of Malta where I worked under the guidance of composer Charles Camilleri. Also in 2006, under the remit of Arts Council Malta, I co-founded the Malta International Arts Festival and remained its artistic director for eight years until 2013. I consider my active involvement in the cultural sector as an important aspect of my research in performance. I am currently consultant to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra on artistic matters and programme development, and director of ARC Research and Consultancy – a platform providing research and consultancy services on EU Funding and programming of collaborative cultural projects. Through ARC, I am directly involved with The European Festivals Association (EFA) and the project Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe (EFFE), of which ARC is the Malta Hub. Also through ARC, I am a member of the Medinea Network – a network of artists, cultural professionals, and academics from the Mediterranean operating within the framework of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France).

I have published articles related to my research interests in various journals and books including Studies in Musical Theatre, New Theatre Quarterly, and Contemporary Theatre Review.
  • Musicality in theatre and performance
  • Music-theatre and opera
  • Interdisciplinary performance practices
  • Ancient Greek tragedy
  • Nietzsche and performance
  • Relations between performance and philosophy

MITCHELL, K. and FRENDO, M., 2021. A Conversation on Directing Opera. New Theatre Quarterly, 37(3), pp. 246-255.

FRENDO, M., 2020. Opera's Second Life: Katie Mitchell's Contributions to Contemporary Opera-Making. Contemporary Theatre Review, 30(2), pp. 211-225.

FRENDO, M., 2020. The dithyrambic dramatist: A Nietzschean musical-performative conception. Studies in Musical Theatre, 14(2), pp. 193-206.

FRENDO, M., 2019. Nietzsche, la música y el dramaturgo ditirámbico: una perspectiva performativa. In: S. ANTORANZ, E. PIQUERO and L. RODRÍGUEZ, eds, Nietzsche y su Sombra: Consideraciones sobre lo poético y lo artístico. Madrid: Clásicos Dykinson, pp. 163-179.

FRENDO, M., 2019. Ancient Greek Tragedy as Performance: the Literature–Performance Problematic. New Theatre Quarterly, 35(1), pp. 19-32.

FRENDO, M., 2018. Nietzsche’s Musical Perspectivism: Interdisciplinary Ontologies in Performance. In: S. AQUILINA and M. SARCO-THOMAS, eds, Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives. Malta University Press, pp. 121-143.

FRENDO, M., 2014. Stanislavsky’s Musicality: Towards Physicalization. Studies in Musical Theatre, 8(3), pp. 225-237.

FRENDO, M., 2013. Embodied Musicality: Nietzsche, Grotowski and Musicalized Processes in Theatre Making. Studies in Musical Theatre, 7(2), pp. 207-219.

FRENDO, M., 2013. Musicality and the Act of Theatre: Developing Musicalised Dramaturgies for Theatre Performance. University of Sussex.

FRENDO, M., 2012. Sound: A Reader in Theatre Practice, Ross Brown (2010) – Book Review. International Journal of Performance and Digital Media, 8(1), pp. 135-138.