Bogdan Roscic is found guilty of copying – but cleared to run the Vienna Opera

Bogdan Roscic is found guilty of copying – but cleared to run the Vienna Opera


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2017

The University of Vienna has announced the results of its inquiry into the 1988 doctoral dissertation of Bogdan Roscic, who has been appointed director of the Vienna State Opera from 2020.

The inquiry found that Roscic had taken five pages of his introduction from another person’s work. However, these were found to be ‘neither in quantitative nor in qualitative terms’ relevant to the core of the dissertation on the work of Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno. There was also, it concluded, ‘no intention to deceive’.

Roscic, presently head of Sony Classical, was therefore cleared of wrongdoing and is now free to run the opera (unless the next Austrian Government changes its mind).

It’s a very Viennese solution. With an Adorno-like intentional confusion.

More here.


The plagiarism researcher Stefan Weber who filed the complaint against Roscic said: ‘If the University of Vienna says that it is not plagiarism, that is a wrong decision. If the University of Vienna says there is plagiarism, but in too small a degree, then that is a margin of discretion.’


We have received the following statement from the University of Vienna:

Bogdan Roščić’s academic degree will not be revoked

University of Vienna closes procedure for investigating plagiarism

In spring, the University of Vienna was notified about plagiarism allegations against Dr. Bogdan Roščić, with reference to similarities with other published material in the introduction of his doctoral thesis. The University of Vienna consequently initiated a procedure for investigating plagiarism and had the doctoral thesis from the year 1988 checked for plagiarism by external assessors. The assessors came to the following conclusion: The similarities between text passages in this doctoral thesis and another doctoral thesis are neither quantitatively nor qualitatively relevant to the thesis. There does not seem to be a fraudulent intent to obtain an academic degree by false pretences. The procedure will be closed; the academic degree will not be revoked.


  • Anon says:

    If it’s only five pages in the introduction, then it is indeed a small and forgivable sin in my humble opinion, particularly in catholic Austria.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The point is, is copying a full five pages unaknowledged, cheating or not? And in an academic paper upon which a PhD is based? But then, Adorno, the subject of the paper, was a kind of charlatan, advocating devastating ugliness as the only possible form of ‘artistic truth’ after WW II and condemning Stravinsky for ‘paying lipservice to the decadent bourgeoisie’, and condemning the musical tastes of the masses of the country which offered him refuge from nazi persecution.

  • Edgar says:

    Wien bleibt Wien. Everything there happens modo austriaco. New Opera Director kept in place, and soon a new youthful Prime Minister leading a rightwing coalition.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      It is good to feel that, somewhere, there is still some order in this crazy world.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The Viennese opera itself is in a copied style, and the entire Ringstrasse consists of copies, if one is unfairly strict. Maybe he was merely following tradition.

  • AMetFan says:

    It all speaks to character. I doubt if most people could define it.

  • SC says:

    Wien Wien nur du allein…This is just the tiniest tip of a huge iceberg. This city’s academic authorities still find it acceptable for candidates to sit each other’s exam papers (the better standing in for the worse). “Research” is understood to be an enhanced form of “copying out”.

    And my friend – still in post, so no names or even hints – who heads a distinguished arts faculty receives phone calls instructing her to give PhDs to poorly qualified candidates on grounds of e.g. the candidate is the niece of the Rektor,

    So all’s well. Nothing to see here. Move on.