Telecoms, spaceship doors and singing animals: <em>La Fantarca</em> and Roman Vlad’s electronic music


  • Joanna E Helms University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Roman Vlad, electronic music, opera, film, sound effects, La Fantarca


Roman Vlad (1919–2012) composed a limited output of electronic music, consisting only of one fully electronic piece and music and effects in a handful of works for radio, television and film. However, his engagement with the field of electronic music extended far beyond his compositional activity, encompassing work as a musicologist, critic and media presenter throughout the 1950s and 1960s. This article considers Roman Vlad’s final work to incorporate electronics, his 1966 television opera La Fantarca (dir. Vittorio Cottafavi), in light of this engagement. In La Fantarca, Vlad implemented compositional attitudes toward electronic music that he had developed over the course of the previous fifteen years. Despite his low volume of work with electronics, Vlad nonetheless actively participated in conversations about the possibilities afforded by electronic instruments, and he incorporated his ideas about experimentation, functionality and effect, and the use of classical techniques in electronic music into his composition.

Author Biography

Joanna E Helms, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

PhD candidate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill