University of Calgary

Free public symposium to be held on Wagner opera

Submitted by darmstro on Fri, 2014-01-17 16:40.

Pilot project involving talks and performances aims to make opera accessible to everyone

Jan. 16, 2014

A symposium on Richard Wagner is being held Feb. 1 at the Rozsa Centre, just prior to opening night of the Calgary Opera's production of the controversial German composer's The Flying Dutchman. The day-long symposium is free.

"The idea is to bring the non-academic, academic and performing communities together to contribute to the critical discourse around the arts in Calgary - something that will really benefit the city," says organizer Maria Euchner, a German Studies professor focusing on literature, the arts and modernism.

Euchner says she wants to dispel the notion that opera is an elitist art form rather than a modern medium portraying issues and emotions affecting many people.

The Saturday symposium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature a performance by accomplished pianist Kathleen van Mourik who has performed across North America and Europe, a roundtable discussion with The Flying Dutchman Director Kelly Robinson, and talks by six University of Calgary academics including:

--  Maria Euchner, Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures - the opera's
    mythological underpinnings, including the legend of the Wandering Jew.
--  Kenneth DeLong, Music - the influence of German Romantic composer C.M.
    von Weber on the young Wagner, with musical examples.
--  Lourdes Arciniega, English - a discussion of Senta, the lone female
    protagonist in The Flying Dutchman, and how she represents the desires
    of 19th century women.  
--  Friedemann Sallis, Music - the legacy of Wagner's words, including his
    anti-Semitic comments, that resonated strongly in the 20th century and
    continue to affect how people perceive one of the world's greatest
    composers and his music.
--  Donald Bell, Music - Bell's experience working with Wieland and Wolfgang
    Wagner, Richard Wagner's grandsons, while singing at the Bayreuth Wagner
    Festival in Germany.  
--  Barry Yzereef, Drama - the dramatic changes in staging of The Flying
    Dutchman from the 19th century to the 20th century.
The symposium is a pilot project, and if it's successful, Euchner hopes to offer similar events in the future with leading local, national, and international experts in their field.

To register, email Seating is limited to 120 people, and lunch will be provided.