Symposium and Workshop: South African Opera Productions after the Apartheid

Venue: Universität Bayreuth

Date:   18th– 19th October 2018

Call for Papers:

Deadline: 15th August 2018

With the end of the Apartheid era, opera – stigmatized as ‘eurocentric opera’ – became a symbol of Western dominance/colonial imposition and seemed to be dead in South Africa.

But in fact, especially the so called ‘indigenous opera’ ‘flourishes’ as something of an anachronism and can be assessed as ‘black empowerment’ (Naomi André 2018).

The writing of a historiography of opera productions in South Africa although has academically just shortly started (Donato Somma 2016; Hilde Roos 2013, 2010; Martina Viljoen 2006) and is confronted with problems of different natures: political structures, post-colonization, globalization, unstable artistic standards and institutional relations.

The ‘bloom’ of opera presents itself neither through regular performances nor through crowded theatre halls. This is a consequence of the difficult political relations of artistic production in South Africa, which are among others characterized by a lack of funding and the re-organization of the Performing Arts Councils/ National Arts Councils. The existing significant multiple theatricalities of South Africa are thereby not having a platform to present themselves. The market pressure results often in overseas productions financing the few performances in the country itself. Thereby putting itself on risk to confirm with their opera productions transferred expectations of a South African identity rather than expressing an ‘authentic’ one.

This symposium will focus on South African Opera productions. Thereby the aim of the symposium is to represent the plurality of artistic concepts that deal in different ways with the multiple challenges of political and social transformation. How can opera in South Africa be involved in the process of societal transformation in a post-apartheid society? Which new artistic concepts are needed? How does themes for the libretti change? How did language, the style of composition and orchestration transform? Which new locations for performances are found to involve new audiences? How did the aesthetics change? And how are new media used either for a new aesthetic of performances, as with e.g. ‘Lamento’ (Umculo) or ‘U-Carmen eKhayelitsha’ (Isango Ensemble), or for marketing purposes?

For the first day of the symposium presentations shall focus on one opera productions. To ‘map’ the plurality of the field presentations are invited that cover one of the following topics.

  1. South African opera productions
  • Operas of different opera companies and composers
  • Different locations of opera performances (opera house, township, film)
  • Aesthetics of the opera opus itself
  • Analysis of compositions, libretti & performances

With Prof. Dr. Naomi André (University Michigan, USA), Dr. Donato Somma (University of Witwatersrand, SA) and Dr. Lena van der Hoven (among others) some experts in the field are invited. They will present on ‘Winnie – The Opera’ (Bongani Ndodana-Breen), ‘Princess Magogo’ (Opera Africa, Mzilikazi Khumalo), ‘Heart of Redness’ (Cape Town Opera, Neo Muyanga) and ‘Romeo’s Passion’ (Umculo, Cathy Milliken).

The workshop on the second day will cover transformation processes of Opera production in South Africa focusing on the following topics:

  • Opera institutions & opera companies
  • Finances/ Funding
  • Audiences
  • Marketing
  • Political impact

Abstracts (max. 2000 characters) for 20 minutes papers along with the technical requirements for the talk and a short CV with contact details should be sent by 15th August 2018 to Lena van der Hoven (Lena.van-der-Hoven@uni-bayreuth.de). Contributions from both the humanities and social sciences are welcome (Musicology, Theatre Studies, History, Cultural Studies, Sociology). Early career researchers in particular are encouraged to contribute. The chosen speakers will be informed by 31th August 2018 and the conference programme published online at http://www.prof-musikwissenschaft.uni-bayreuth.de/de/index.html .

 

 

Researching Performance, Performing Research – Collaborations and Confrontations

October 27-29, 2017

Introduction

The purpose of this symposium is to explore the manifold contexts in which interactions between musical performers and scholars take place, and the different modalities in which such interactions may be conducted. In both the past and the present these have included productive collaborations and shared visions, but also genuine confrontations. The symposium will address not just the overlaps between the activities of performers and scholars and between the different types of knowledge that undergird both musical performance and the performative act of doing research, but also the disagreements, tensions, and failures that may arise when bringing these practices into dialogue.

The symposium will be structured around five basic themes:
Theme 1: Instruments of Performance Research
Theme 2: Sources of Performance Knowledge
Theme 3: Scholars and Performers Interacting
Theme 4: Institutional Cultures and Collaborations
Theme 5: Power, Prestige, and Embodied Knowledge

Speakers/performers
We have invited presentations from a wide range of musical scholars and performers, those with a pluralistic outlook on performance and research. Pre-formed sessions will contain both presentations and performances by the symposium delegates, with the aim of achieving a symbiosis of these two basic elements. The keynote address will be given by the composer and vocalist Jennifer Walshe, a world-renowned performer of contemporary art, in collaboration with the accordeonist Andreas Borregaard.

Location
The symposium will take place at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Piet Heinkade 1, 1019 BR Amsterdam), which is very close to Amsterdam Central Station

Programme
The final programme and abstracts can be found here

Registration
Please register for the symposium here

Accommodation
We have made arrangements with two hotels in Amsterdam, where you can book a room at a reduced rate. Click here for more information.

Questions can be addressed to the symposium conveners: john.koslovsky@ahk.nl; michiel.schuijer@ahk.nl

The organizing committee
Hans Fidom (VU University/Orgelpark)
John Koslovsky (Conservatorium van Amsterdam/Utrecht University)
Julia Kursell (University of Amsterdam)
Olga Panteleeva (Utrecht University)
Michiel Schuijer (Conservatorium van Amsterdam)
Floris Schuiling (Utrecht University)