Ring Symposium I
Symposium I: Tuesday, August 6
Why (and how) does Wagner’s Ring evoke extreme devotion and aversion?
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University
“Aversion and Diversion: How Parody and Satire Have Influenced the Reception of the Ring Cycle"
There is an enormously interesting history about which particular Ring themes were chosen for parody and satire as these works entered the domains of popular culture in many countries through cartoons, television, radio, etc. (Anna Russell to name but one example) How and why did opera, especially Wagner’s, become a theme for politics through the use of illustration and cartoons? In what ways does the nature of the Ring’s themes explain its enormous impact on different kinds of audiences in different countries?
Professor of Music at King’s College London
Lunchtime Q&A. (Lunch Purchase required)*.
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA
Wagner and the Jews: How Do Contemporary Productions Address the Question of Anti-Semitism in Wagner’s Works?
The question of Richard Wagner’s personal and/or musical anti-Semitism became a topic of enormous controversy during and after World War II, when Hitler was a frequent guest at Bayreuth. Nevertheless, during Wagner’s lifetime a disproportionately large portion of his most ardent fans were Jewish, and the Jewish Wagnerite is by no means the exception today. Arguments about Wagner’s anti-Semitism, however, often seem to stagnate in the rival claims of “bad man” and “great music.” Can this deadlock be resolved by focusing on the following issues: what features of the Ring and other of Wagner’s operas have lead critics to accuse him of anti-Semitism? And what does Wagner actually say in his infamous essay, “Jewishness in Music”? Moreover, how do contemporary productions of Wagner’s operas address the question of anti-Semitism in his works? How can modern directors reinterpret his operas in ways that bring out perhaps neglected or latent textual meanings -- not for the sake of sanitizing Wagner, but perhaps to criticize him, or to retrieve subtler meanings that are often ignored or simplified?
*Lunch must be purchased in advance. Ordering information will be included with your tickets in spring 2013.