Opera Periphereia, a branch of CDI, began as a symposium organized by Zachary Milliman and held at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, where he served as a faculty member. This conference brought together scholars from the U.S. and abroad to present research dealing with opera on the periphery of the mainstream canon. Aimed at interdisciplinary involvement, the symposium also featured a concert of music discussed in the academic presentations by local musicians. Since the success of this first event, other institutions have expressed interest in hosting future conferences. CDI plans to support the proliferation of this symposium, as well as publish the proceedings of future events.
Milliman was awarded a prestigious nine-month Fulbright research grant to Budapest where he will document the history and development of Hungarian opera beginning in Septmeber 2015. CDI will host a blog where Zachary will publish his findings during his stay in Budapest, introducing a wider audience to Hungarian opera and promoting the work of CDI on an international level.
While abroad, Zachary plans to visit key regional opera houses to further research neglected repertories in such places as Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Sweden and others. One of his main areas of interest is the subpolitical role of opera in the Caucasus. He is currently arranging to visit archives and interview musicians in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Opera in Azerbaijan, for example, despite its fascinating history (the first woman on stage in Azerbaijan was in the first Azeri opera Leyli and Majnun), represents a unique fusion of Western and Azeri musical and vocal practices, virtually unknown outside the country. He plans to publish his interviews and other findings with CDI and elsewhere.