Bootleg Opera and Pirate Queens

Workshop-Conference at the Bern University of the Arts, 2–4 September 2020

During the conference the Bern University of the Arts will present the Ehrenreich-Collection of opera recordings, a collection of over 2000 reel-to-reel tapes comprising around 10’000 hours of private bootleg recordings made between 1965 and 2010 at the major opera venues in New York by the self-proclaimed “pirate queen” Leroy Allan Ehrenreich (1929–2016). The conference aims to bring this singular collection into dialogue with similar collections worldwide, providing a valuable opportunity of contextualising and exploring the identities, networks, practices, voices and emotions involved in amateur bootleg recording in the second half of the twentieth century. Ideas and initiatives for further research projects around the collection are welcome.

For this workshop we invite scholars to propose research papers relating to relevant topics within and beyond the Ehrenreich Collection. (Submission until 18 February 2020)
Proposals discussing one or several of the following topics are welcome:
1. identity (bootlegging, collecting practice, repertoire, venues, gender, sexuality, networks, etc.)
2. materiality (recording technology, preservation, digitization, etc.)
3. audio analysis and performance practice (live recorded singers, operatic performance, audience sounds, recording time and space, etc.)
4. reception and pedagogy (audience reception, live recordings as pedagogical tools, intended and perceived emotions, etc.)
5. diffusion (accessibility, data bases, legal status, citizen science, etc.)

More information on