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 and Clare College, University of Cambridge

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.

Attendance is free of charge but numbers will be strictly limited; those wishing to attend should contact the convenor, Ditlev Rindom, by 8 June 2019:


Elton Bowling Room, Memorial Court, Clare College, University of Cambridge

Registration and coffee, 9:00-9:30; opening remarks (Ditlev Rindom), 9:30-9:40

Session One, 9:40-11:10

Opera, Civilisation and Beyond (chair: Charlotte Bentley, University of Cambridge)

José Manuel Izquierdo de König (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile): “Arts of death and dying: opera and bullfighting in mid nineteenth-century Lima”

Rosie McMahon (University of Oxford, UK): “Manaus’s Teatro Amazonas: The Opera House in the Jungle?”

Ditlev Rindom (University of Cambridge, UK): “Boom and Bust: Teresa Carreño’s Venezuelan opera company, and the beginnings of Pan-American opera”

Coffee and tea break, 11:10-11:30

Session Two, 11:30-13:00

Transatlantic Economies (chair: Susan Rutherford, University of Manchester)

Kristen McCleary (James Madison University, USA): “High, Middle and Lowbrow: Opera and the Construction of Social Class Identities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1860 – 1910”

Matteo Paoletti (Università di Genova, Italy): “The musical trade as a trans-Atlantic business: the case of Walter Mocchi”

Mahima Luna (Oxford Brookes University, UK): “The ‘global’ reception of Puccini’s Il Trittico (1918) and the operatic culture of the post-war period”

Lunch, 13:00-14:00

Session Three, 14:00-15:30

After Europe (chair: Benjamin Walton, University of Cambridge)

Francesco Milella (University of Cambridge, UK): “Este ídolo del mundo músico: Rossini in independent Mexico”

Leonardo Manzino (Universidad de la República, Uruguay): “The Rise of 19th Century Uruguayan Opera: Syncretism of Italian Musical Gusto and the Uruguayan Search for Identity in a Cosmopolitan Era”

Rondy F. Torres (Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia): “The Operatic Adventure in Bogota: When the European Opera became a National Celebration”

Coffee and tea break, 15:30-16:00

Session Four, 16:00-17:30

Political Subversions (chair: Katharine Ellis, University of Cambridge)

Vera Wolkowicz (Royal Holloway, University of London): “Love, Treason and Fatherland: Italian opera and local politics in mid-nineteenth-century Buenos Aires”

Anibal E. Cetrangolo (Ca’Foscari, Italy/Universidad de San Martin, Buenos Aires): “Opera and the South American rivers”

Gabriele Rizzotto (Ca’Foscari, Venice, Italy): “Italian Opera, Masonry and Risorgimento in the Rio de la Plata during the Age of Rosas (1830-1852)”

Concluding open discussion, 17:30-18:00

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