“Environmental Opera Research” Conference

In this international event we ask what eco-sensitive opera research might look like, and how it could respond to the environmental crisis theoretically.

A deer overlooking some ruins

Environmental crisis demands global solutions from all areas of human endeavor. This includes the creation, production, performance, and study of opera. How will the environmental crisis affect opera as an art form as well as opera studies? What new perspectives does the environmental crisis bring to opera and opera research? How can opera and opera research support positive developments on environmental issues?

The international Environmental Opera Research conference will address these questions on the theoretical level. It offers guest lectures by invited international researchers and a keynote lecture by Joy H. Calico (Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Nashville, USA).

The event is organized by the MuTri Doctoral School and Research Unit and the Opera Programme of Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, in collaboration with the research project Politics of Equality in Finnish Opera (2017–2022), funded by the Academy of Finland.

The conference is part of the world premiere events of All the Truths We Cannot See: A Chernobyl Story (2021), the opera by Uljas Pulkkis and Glenda D. Goss. The opera will be performed by the International Opera Programme of Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland, and Vocal Department of Thornton school of Music, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

Keynote speaker

Joy H. Calico, Professor of Musicology (Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, Nashville, USA)


  • Juha Torvinen, Senior Lecturer at the Musicology department of the University of Helsinki
  • Isabelle Moindrot, Professor of theatre studies (University of Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis, France), senior member (Institut Universitaire de France, France)
  • Jelena Novak, researcher (CESEM Center for Study of the Sociology and Aesthetics of Music), FCSH (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Tiina Rosenberg, Professor of theatre studies and gender scholar (Stockholm University, Sweden)
  • PhD Sini Mononen, musicologist and an art critic (Helsinki, Finland)
  • Dr. Milla Tiainen, musicologist, senior lecturer in Musicology (University of Turku), Docent of Musicology (University of Helsinki), chair of the Finnish Musicological Society.
  • Kirsten Paige, Assistant Teaching Professor of Musicology (North Carolina State University, USA)
  • Nicholas David Stevens, musicologist (Naxos of American, USA)
  • Nicholas Till, historian, theorist and practitioner in opera and music theatre, Professor of Opera and Music Theatre (University of Sussex), Pierre Audi Chair in Opera and Music Theatre (University of Amsterdam)


14.00–14.10 Welcoming and practical issues
Liisamaija Hautsalo (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)

14.15–14.25 Opening words
Juha Torvinen (University of Helsinki): Opera, an ultimate ecological genre?

Session 1: Chair: Milla Tiainen

14.30–14.55 CANCELLED/Isabelle Moindrot (University of Paris 8, Vincennes – Saint-Denis, France): Where do the operatic rivers flow to?

15.00–15.25 Jelena Novak (CESEM, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa): NUKE SINGING: Notes on Framing Questions of Mass Destruction in Opera

15.30–15.55 Tiina Rosenberg (University of Stockholm, Sweden): Blossoming Gender: Flowers in Operatic Performance

16.00–16.15 (15 min) BREAK

16.15–17.15 KEYNOTE SPEAK

Joy H. Calico (Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, USA): Blue Opera Studies in the Anthropocene

17.15–17.45 (30. min) BREAK

Session 2: Chair: Jelena Novak

17.45–18.10 Sini Mononen (University of Helsinki, Finland) & Milla Tiainen (University of Turku, Finland): Performing with the forest and to the forest: Tree Opera as a more-than-human performance collective

18.15–18.40 Nicholas Till (University of Sussex, UK, & University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands): A Major Dramaturgy for Opera in the Age of the Climate Hyperobject

18.45–19.10 Kirsten Paige (North Carolina State University, USA): Der Ring des Nibelungen as “Green” Mythology

19.15–19.40 Nick Stevens (Naxos of America, USA): Voices Unsung and Unheeded: Gaia, Solaris, Opera


Concluding words


Registration is open until 15 March 2022. 

More information

The event will be arranged onsite in Helsinki (Musiikkitalo, Black Box) and online in Zoom. We have the one Zoom links for the whole day. The link and the practical instructions will be sent all participants to the e-mail address provided in the registration form after the registration deadline (15 March 2022).  For data security reasons, we ask you not to share the link with anyone.

Dr. Liisamaija Hautsalo, PhD
Associate professor, Academy of Finland Research Fellow
Politics of Equality in Finnish Opera research project (2017–2022)
MuTri Doctoral School
Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki

Johanna Rauhaniemi
Coordinator, University of the Arts Helsinki


18.3.2022 at 14:00 – 21:00


Musiikkitalo (Black Box, Mannerheimintie 13 a, Helsinki) and online in Zoom


Mannerheimintie 13 A

00100 Helsinki


Admission free

Location on map

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