The Institute of Musicology




2nd transnational opera studies conference

5–7 July, 2017

University of Bern, Switzerland

The complete booklet is now online.




Marco Beghelli (Università di Bologna)
Céline Frigau Manning (Université de Paris-VIII)
Anselm Gerhard (Universität Bern)
Axel Körner (University College London)
Gundula Kreuzer (Yale University)
Vincenzina C. Ottomano (Universität Bern)
Arne Stollberg (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Cristina Urchueguía (Universität Bern)


Anselm Gerhard (Universität Bern)
Vincenzina C. Ottomano (Universität Bern)



Valeria Lucentini (Universität Bern)

The call for papers of tosc@bern.2017 received 223 proposals from 30 countries: USA(58), UK (28), Italy (20), France (19), Germany (18), Austria (15), Canada (7), Spain (6), Portugal (6), Brazil (5), Australia (4), Czech Republic (4), Switzerland (4), Greece (4), Poland (3), Finland (3), Russia (3), Sweden (3), Israel (3), Slovakia (3), China (3), Japan (2), Colombia (1), Ireland (1), Denmark (1), Cyprus (1), Holland (1), New Zealand (1), Lithuania (1), Tunisia (1).

The topics proposed spanned all historical periods, as well as touching on various issues related to opera in its widest sense. Seventy papers have been accepted for the Conference.


A welcome reception with an aperitif will take place on the evening of Tuesday 4 July at 18:30 at the Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern. Please let us know if you are attending on the Registration Form.


In order to register for the conference, please fill in the attached form and send it as a Word file (“.doc”, not “.pdf”) to the conference email address: Speakers are asked to register by April 30th at the latest.
Registration form (DOC, 37KB)
Fee includes registration, coffee breaks, buffet lunches and 2 conference-concerts. The total amount depends on the time of registration, as following:

Until April 13th 2017
(early bird registration)

CHF 100 (3 days)

students under 30: CHF 80 (3 days)

From April 14th 2017

CHF 100 (1 day)
CHF 120 (2 days)
CHF 140 (3 days)


students under 30: CHF 110 (3 days). Payments only via bank account

Reductions are available for students under 30 years of age (people born in 1987 and after).
To pay via bank account, transfer the conference fee to the following bank account:



Verein zur Förderung von Veranstaltungen des Instituts für Musikwissenschaft, Hallerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern



Reason for payment

Tosca Conference


CH60 0900 0000 8984 0423 9




To pay via PayPal account, you find below the button (marked in German with "Jetzt kaufen"). Please choose the button for your option, select "regular" or "student" in the drop-down menu and click on the button "Jetzt kaufen" ("Buy now"). You are directed to the PayPal website. We kindly ask you to send us,  together with the filled registration form, a printed version of the confirmation of the payment. Notice that the payment via paypal requires a small fee charged by paypal, here added to the registration fee.


Registration (Paypal fees added)

For any inquiries regarding registration please contact

THE tosc@bern.2017 AWARD

The tosc@bern.2017 award for the best paper by a scholar in the early stages of his or her career is was assigned to James O’Leary, Assistant Professor of Musicology at Oberlin College and Conservatory (actually the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States, situated in the Great Lakes Region in the South West of Cleveland (Ohio)). Entitled “Kurt Weill’s ‘Idiotic Theories’ and ‘Human Development’,” O’Leary’s paper imaginatively challenges the so-called “two Weill thesis”—the long-held idea that Kurt Weill, transnational composer par excellence, turned away from his avant-garde aspirations after his emigration to the United States, and instead catered to the American entertainment industry. Investigating the genesis and reception of the 1946 musical Street Scene, O’Leary argues instead that Weill began to shift his focus from what he now called “Brecht’s idiotic old theories” of the avant-garde to the notion of human development, and that he continued an experimental strain of Broadway Musical that sought to engender critical political thought through emotional rather than intellectual engagement. Combining archival findings and theoretical considerations, O’Leary sounds out a ‘third way’ between the radically unconventional avant-garde (as traditionally understood by Adorno and others) on the one hand, and ‘mere’ conventionality on the other: his paper concludes that Weill in America “used convention unconventionally,” and thereby fostered what he dubs a “popular avant-garde.” The scholarly committee of tosc@bern.2017 was unanimous in its appreciation of this very convincing and stimulating paper – particularly in view of the foremost importance of “the uses of convention” and the dialectic relationship between conventions and their transgression in so many operatic genres, as well as its relevance for transnational opera studies. O’Leary ends with a call to investigate more broadly the hidden, “popular” strand of avant-garde composition. It is up to him and future scholars to take up this call; but it is up to us to congratulate James O'Leary for his successful paper, which may be published in the Swiss Yearbook of Musicology 2018.