Mark A. Pottinger, Ph.D., associate professor of music, visual and performing arts at Manhattan College, is one of 23 recipients of the Berlin Prize, a semester-long fellowship in Berlin, Germany for the 2016-17 academic year. The Berlin Prize is granted by the American Academy in Berlin, a research and cultural institution in Berlin whose stated mission is to foster a greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany.
While in Berlin, during his spring 2017 sabbatical, Pottinger will examine the role of the natural sciences in defining the sound, look, and understanding of the supernatural in early Romantic opera of the 19th century. He will focus on the friendship and artistic collaboration between composer Giacomo Meyerbeer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt in the French grand opera Robert le diable (1831), one of the most successful operas of the 19th century.
Pottinger, who founded Manhattan College’s visual and performing arts department in 2004, served as the department chair from 2005-16. His research on 19th-century natural sciences and their relationship to notions of the supernatural as found in early Romantic opera will culminate into a full-length book, Romantic Science: 19th-Century Opera in the Age of Becoming.
The highly coveted Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from America who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. Fellows receive a monthly stipend, partial board, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee.