Past Events - 2010

Fall 2010 Events

Metropolitan Opera Live in HD lecture series

With the support of International Programs at The University of Iowa and Humanities Iowa, the Opera Studies Forum is organizing a series of six lectures coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD theater transmissions (presented at Sycamore Theatres in Iowa City and in other venues worldwide). All lectures take places in the University Capitol Centre Conference Seminar Room 2520D at 5:30 p.m. and are free of charge and open to the public.

September 9, 2010 (Thursday): James Martin (Cornell College, Music), on Wagner's Das Rheingold

October 28, 2010 (Thursday): Katherine Eberle (University of Iowa Music), on Donizetti's Don Pasquale

November 30, 2010 (Tuesday): Miriam Gilbert (University of Iowa, English), on Verdi's Don Carlo

December 15, 2010 (Wednesday): Kim Marra (University of Iowa, Theater Arts), on Puccini's La fanciulla del West

“Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand?”

Presenter: Nicholas Vazsonyi (University of South Carolina, German)
When: Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Gerber Lounge in the English Philosophy Building (EPB)

Topic: The lecture discusses various aspects of Professor Vazsonyi's recent book Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He will address the assumptions that form the basis of the book, the meaning of self-promotion, the extent to which the techniques Wagner used to attract an audience were special, and the ways in which we might reconcile the thesis that Wagner created a brand with the composer's claim that his aesthetic agenda emphasized the sanctity and purity of art, eschewing all interest in money.

NICHOLAS VAZSONYI is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina. His first book Lukács Reads Goethe (1997) was followed by two edited volumes, Searching for Common Ground: Diskurse zur deutschen Identität 1750-1871 (2000) and Wagner’s "Meistersinger": Performance, History, Representation (2003). His book Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand was just published by Cambridge University Press, and he was recently commissioned as the editor of the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia, which is scheduled to appear in 2013.

This event is sponsored by OSF and ENCIC.

“Gluck, Wagner, and Symbolism: Staging Orphée in 1896 Paris”


Presenter: William Gibbons, Visiting Lecturer in Musicology, University of Iowa
When: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Gerber Lounge in the English Philosophy Building (EPB)


Summary: The 1896 revival of Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice provides a case study of how eighteenth-century operas could be reinterpreted in modern ways in fin-de-siècle Paris and offers a new perspective on the cultural importance of Gluck and his operas during this time. Orphée was in many ways a test case for using Parisian stages as an operatic museum, which could house works from the eighteenth century alongside newer compositions. The success of these “classical” works was largely dependent on their potential to be seen as relevant to modern audiences, and Orphée was an ideal choice in this regard. Several elements of Gluck’s opera facilitated a modern interpretation of his masterpiece. Foremost was the long-standing connection between Gluck and Wagner in French music criticism, an association built on perceived similarities between the theoretical systems of the two composers. Furthermore, Orphée resonated with Symbolist interpretations of the Orpheus myth reflected in fin-de-siècle literature and visual art through its portrayal of the hero’s gender ambiguity and lamentations—a connection made more tangible by the close ties between Wagnerism and Symbolism.

WILLIAM GIBBONS is currently Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Iowa. He received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, with a dissertation titled “Eighteenth-Century Opera and the Construction of National Identity in France, 1875–1918.” His articles have appeared in several journals, including 19th-Century Music, Eighteenth-Century Life, The Journal of the Society for American Music, and Music and the Moving Image. In addition to musicological pursuits, Will is also an active harpsichordist and performer of early music.

This event is sponsored by OSF and International Programs.

Spring 2010

“Cavalli, Faustini, and the Cave of Eternity: Producing La Calisto in the Seventeenth Century”
Jennifer Brown, Grinnell College