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Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture: The Fin de Siècle and Its Legacy

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Opera, Exoticism and Visual Culture: The Fin de Siècle and Its Legacy
An International Interdisciplinary Symposium

Dates: Thursday 25th - Saturday 27th September 2008
Venue: Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London WC1B 5 DN

Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies and Institute of Musical Research
(School of Advanced Study, University of London)

Organizer: Dr Hyunseon Lee (IGRS, University of London)

Programme Committee: Dr Hyunseon Lee (IGRS), Prof Katharine Ellis (IMR),
Prof K. Ludwig Pfeiffer (Jacobs University Bremen/University Siegen), Dr
Alexandra Wilson (Oxford Brookes University)

Key speakers include: Prof Marcia Citron (Rice University,
Houston/Texas), Prof Erika Fischer-Lichte (FU Berlin), Prof Anselm
Gerhard (University Bern), Prof Lydia Goehr (Columbia University New
York),  Prof Hervé Lacombe (University Metz)

CALL FOR PAPERS (31 January 2008)

Opera is not dead. Its death may have been frequently predicted but, at
the dawn of the 21st century, we see it reborn in forms using
avant-garde, new media and post-modern media aesthetics that challenge
and disrupt dominant forms of artistic production. Yet it remains bound
to its history. This conference examines the implications, across more
than a century, of one strand of that history: the colonialist exotic as
it was manifest particularly in works from Aida to Turandot. We are
especially interested in the role of the exotic in the opera as it
confronts the historical context of cultural globalization and
interculturality. How, in a postcolonial age, does one best represent
the opera of a colonial past? To what extent can modern technology or
filmic representation help us reinterpret such opera in a new era? How
do the exotic ideals of the fin de siècle relate to highbrow and lowbrow
operatic traditions of the Far East (Peking Opera, Korean musical
theatre on the one hand; Noh theatre on the other) or twentieth-century
operatic interpretations of them (eg. by composers such as Benjamin
Britten)? What challenges for staging and visual representation do such
examples of cultural exchange present?

As a uniquely hybrid, multi-media form of artistic output, straddled
between music and theatre, between high and low culture, opera offers
wide-ranging research possibilities in the fields of media and cultural
studies. Using the problem of the exotic legacy as its primary lens,
this international interdisciplinary conference explores the shifting
relationships between the multi-media genre of opera and the
fast-changing world of visual culture. The conference will also examine
the changing aesthetics of opera in composition and performance,
historical (dis)continuity and the new relations of space and time as
they may affect opera in the digital age.

A selection of presented papers will be published.


Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. Please send proposals for
individual papers (no longer than 200 words) and/or 90-minute panel
sessions to Flo Austin (igrs@sas.ac.uk <mailto:igrs@sas.ac.uk> ) by 31
January 2008. Please include your institutional details where relevant,
and your email address. These details are for administrative use only in
the first instance: the Programme Committee will judge abstracts anonymously.

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