Staging Operatic Anniversaries

Staging Operatic Anniversaries


A one-day conference organised by the Oxford Brookes University opera research unit (OBERTO), to be held on Tuesday 10 September 2013.


2013 is a year of important operatic anniversaries, marking, amongst others, the bicentenaries of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, the 150th anniversary of Pietro Mascagni, the centenary of Benjamin Britten and the 50th anniversary of the death of Francis Poulenc. While conferences and performances are being organised worldwide to celebrate the music of these composers, we wish to consider the question of how operatic anniversaries are themselves commemorated, in keeping with the historiographical focus of past OBERTO conferences. ‘Staging Operatic Anniversaries’ will address how composers, operas and operatic institutions are memorialised in anniversary years and the different ways in which such commemorations can be considered to be performative: an act of ‘staging’. Simultaneously, the conference will explore how historical anniversaries have been depicted or celebrated upon the operatic stage. Finally, it will also consider issues surrounding the (literal) staging of operas by composers whose anniversaries fall in 2013.


We aim to expand the field of study in this area and intend that the conference should bring together in fruitful debate musicologists, historians, scholars of biography, those involved in organising and marketing anniversary celebrations and other interested parties. We therefore invite papers addressing as wide a variety of topics and methodologies as possible, including (but by no means limited to):

  • The ways in which the anniversaries of the births / deaths of operatic composers and of significant operatic premieres have been marked, both historically and in the present
  • Celebrations to mark the anniversaries of opera houses, opera festivals and other operatic institutions
  • The ways in which anniversaries of significant historical events or birthdays have been depicted upon the operatic stage
  • Historiographical approaches to musical memorialisation
  • The staging of works by composers whose anniversaries fall in 2013


We envisage that the conference will comprise a mixture of individual papers, panel discussions and open discussion.


Proposals of up to 250 words are invited for individual papers of 20 minutes duration.

Proposals should be submitted by e-mail to Dr Alexandra Wilson ( no later than 26 April 2013.


Conference organisers: Alexandra Wilson, Barbara Eichner and Christopher Chowrimootoo

OBERTO: Oxford Brookes – Exploring Research Trends in Opera

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