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Presentation by Olga Panteleeva (Utrecht University) in the Colloquium Musicologicum, room 3.01 at Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16

Detail Summary
Date 13 June 2019
Time 15:30

In this talk, Olga Panteleeva analyses the highly emotional discussions about the genre of Regieoper – a revisionist approach to operatic staging associated in Russia with Western European music culture. As a part of her research project about online classical music fandom in contemporary Russia, she positions these discussions in the long tradition of morality politics that presents Russia as culturally and morally superior to the West. Classical music has been a trump card for Russia in the power struggle with the “bourgeois West” since the 1930s. Appropriation of Western European masterpieces for the Soviet artistic canon during that time further contributed to the idea that Russia is heir and guardian to the great Western European culture. Locating contemporary discourses within the long tradition of equating aesthetic with ethics, this project demonstrates how the “cultural heritage” became paramount in constructing the discourses of national superiority in Putin’s Russia.

Arguing, after Sara Ahmed, against the psychologizing understanding of emotions as something that belongs exclusively to the private sphere, Olga Panteleeva interrogates the ways in which the politics of emotion in Russia creates the Other and solidifies a sense of national identity perceived to be under threat from the West. While this theoretical perspective aligns with a recent trend in political science to analyze the current anti-Western attitudes in Russia through the lens of Nietzschean ressentiment and feelings of resentment, this is the first research project that brings theory of emotions to bear on the contemporary politics of music in Russia. 

Olga Panteleeva is a Lecturer in Musicology at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of California, Berkeley. Engaging with different periods of Russian and Soviet music culture, her research focuses on the relationship between music and power, the intersections between musical and scientific discourses, and contemporary politics of classical music. In 2017-2018 she was a Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University as a part of a cohort working on the topic titled "The Culture and Politics of Resentment." She is currently working on a monograph, "The Making of Soviet Musicology," to be published by Indiana University Press. As a music critic Olga Panteleeva wrote for the Russian business daily Vedomosti and the independent online magazine Colta.ru