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Release: June 11, 2001

UI Obermann Center hosts two-week seminar on 'Opera in Context'

Many of the world’s leading researchers in the field of opera history will gather at the University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies June 11-27 for the 2001 Obermann Summer Research Seminar, "Opera in Context."

This interdisciplinary research seminar will focus on the relationship between opera and the social worlds in which, and for which, it was created. Scholars will address the ways in which individual operas or operatic traditions have shaped, and been shaped by, their publics and the cultural and political circumstances in which they existed. New approaches to opera and new problems in opera studies are particularly encouraged.

A principal aim of the seminar is to bring together scholars drawn from a variety of disciplines, including classics, dance, history, literary studies, musicology, and theater arts. Topics to be addressed include: intersections of stage representation and social contexts; transformations of single works for different venues and audiences; operatic works that spawn or respond to other operatic or non-operatic works; performance practices that can be understood as integral to operatic works rather than incidental to them; the politics of opera on film; and reception issues.

Distinguished guest speakers include:

Herbert Lindenberger, professor of comparative literature, Stanford University, speaking on "Retrospective Reflections on Opera," Tuesday, June 12, 1:30 p.m.

Harold Powers, professor of music, Princeton University, speaking on "…il vario metro dei versi francesi…," Friday, June 15, 10 a.m.

Wye (Wendy) J. Allanbrook, professor of music, University of California at Berkeley, speaking on "Comic Flux and Comic Precision: Opera buffa and the Development of Late Eighteenth Century Instrumental Music," Tuesday, June 19, 1: 30 p.m.

David Levin, associate professor of Germanic studies, University of Chicago, speaking on "Opera and mis-en-scene: The Stuttgart Opera Production of Mozart’s ‘Abduction from the Seraglio,’" Thursday, June 21, 1:30 p.m.

Ellen Rosand, professor of music, Yale University, speaking on "Conventionalizing Opera," Monday, June 25, 1:30 p.m.

The seminar is organized by Roberta Marvin, a UI associate professor of musicology, and Downing Thomas, a UI associate professor of French and Italian, and will convene Fellows selected competitively from applicants around the world.

UI Fellows include Robert Ketterer (Classics) and Waltraud Maierhofer (German). Other Fellows are Robert Clark (Modern Languages, Kansas State University), Rachel Cowgill (Music, University of Leeds), Tili Cuille (Romance Languages, Washington University), Charles Dill (Music, University of Wisconsin), Grace Kehler (English, McMaster University), and Anne Williams (English, University of Georgia).

The seminar is supported by the C. Esco and Avalon L. Obermann Fund and by the Obermann Center, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Graduate College.

All seminar programs will be held in the Gold Room at Oakdale Hall. A complete seminar schedule is available from the Obermann Center, (319) 335-4034.