The Operatic Century: European Opera in Latin America during the Long Nineteenth Century (1789-1914)

Clare College, University of Cambridge, 25 June 2019; supported by the Royal Musical Association

The nineteenth century has long been recognised as the era when European opera became a truly global phenomenon. Grand opera houses were established throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas during and after the end of European colonial rule, and Latin America emerged as a vibrant and increasingly prominent axis of the global opera industry. Recent decades have witnessed a flourishing body of research on the dissemination of European opera in Latin America – above all Italian repertory – while scholarship in global history has highlighted the entanglement of musical activity within broader networks shaped by the mobility of people, goods and ideas.

This conference aims to enrich our understanding of operatic culture throughout the long nineteenth century by a focus on Latin America’s operatic boom. Organised in conjunction with the IMS study group “El RIIA: Relaciones Italiano Iberoamericanos, El Teatro Musical”, it will explore how the diversity of European operatic activity across Latin America can reshape existing narratives about western operatic history, as well as nuance accounts of Latin America’s cultural and political history. 20 minute papers should be presented in English, and possible topics could include:

– The operatic canon

– Adaptation

– Visual representations of opera

– Performance practice and stage technology

– Touring opera

– The reception of opera in other artistic media

– Newspaper criticism

– Opera beyond the opera theatre

– Highbrow and lowbrow

– Singers and musical training

– Nationalism and cosmopolitanism

– Listening cultures

– Translation

– Opera and urban development

– Ideas of Italy and italianità

– Latin America in the European imagination

Proposals should be sent by email to the convenor, Ditlev Rindom, by 31 March 2019, 5pm GMT. Decisions will be communicated as soon as possible thereafter. Proposals and enquiries should be emailed to