Bayreuth/Schloss Thurnau Conference 2013


WagnerWorldWide: Reflections

12-15 December 2013

Schloss Thurnau, Germany

Anno Mungen (Bayreuth), Ivana Rentsch (Zürich), Arne Stollberg (Bern),
Nicholas Vazsonyi

The Research Institute for Music Theater Studies (Schloss Thurnau), University of Bayreuth, in collaboration with the University of South Carolina (USA) and the University of Bern (Switzerland), is convening an international conference to conclude the www2013: project.

Call for Papers:

Starting in 2011, the www2013: project has been examining the current significance of the Wagner phenomenon through five overarching themes that link social, political, ideological and aesthetic aspects of the 19th and 21st centuries, as follows:

  • Environment and Nature
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Media and Film
  • History and Nationalism
  • Globalization and Markets

Instead of individual sections dealing with the five themes individually, the conference seeks to create networks between the themes as they relate to each other both historically and geographically. Since the Thurnau conference is scheduled to take place at the end of 2013, this will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the anniversary year by examining not only its aesthetic and intellectual results but also to examine the ways in which Wagner was remembered, memorialized, and celebrated.

The conference will also continue to explore the topics already elaborated during the 2011-12 lecture series WagnerWorldWide:Bayreuth that inaugurated the project (the complete lecture series is available on YouTube). The following is a list of possible topics:

  • Reflections on the anniversary year: what happened, where, why, and what is the state of Wagner Studies?

Reflections on the memorial locations (Bayreuth, Leipzig, Dresden, Munich): are there remnants or traces of Wagner today?

Reflections on the locations of commemoration: which cities (other than the ones with concrete ties to Wagner’s biography) were involved with the Wagner anniversary, what kinds of programs did they organize, and why?

Reflections on the modalities of the anniversary.  Has the notion of the festival been updated or become banal? And what was the character of the commemorations?

  • Eco-critical Reflections: Can Wagner help us formulate an ecological approach to music and theater?
  • Reflecting on Media: New technologies mean that Wagner is being mediated and distributed in new ways. How has this impacted opera as an institution?
  • Reflecting on Economics: Wagner as an image or a brand? What is the interaction between the economic exploitation of “Wagner” and the cultural perception of the Wagner phenomenon?
  • Reflecting on Politics, History and Nationalism: is there any friction between current political structures and the revolutionary potential as theorized in the 19th century by Wagner and others? How do we see Wagner today, given his ideological appropriation during the 20th century, most notably by German nationalists?
  • Reflecting on Gender and Sexuality: How relevant for our own time is the gender-crossing and transgressive sexuality in Wagner’s work? Is Wagner’s depiction of gender and sexuality relevant or obsolete?
  • Sociological reflections: what is the public for Wagner’s works in 2013? Is it only comprised of rich old people? If so, how can a younger generation be convinced that Wagner has something to offer them?

The organizers welcome unusual, unexpected, and/or creative proposals which offer new and refreshing approaches to Wagner and that address the concept WagnerWorldWide: Reflections. Please send abstracts (250 words) in English by 31 July 2012. The conference language is English. All those who have already participated in the www2013: project are welcome as are those who have not so far been involved in any of the events. Younger members of the academic community (including advanced graduate students) are particularly encouraged to send proposals. Further information about the entire project, as well as updated information about the Thurnau conference can be found on the www2013:

Send 250-Word abstract and a short curriculum vitae, including institutional affiliation (if any) and full contact information to Prof. Dr. Anno Mungen at