The University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Science and the School of Music is sponsoring a Richard Wagner academic conference from January 27 through February 2. The six-day conference in Columbia, South Carolina, titled “WagnerWorldWide: America,” is part of a multi-year initiative by the University of Bayreuth in Germany, and marks the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth this year. New Yorker classical-music critic Alex Ross will give the keynote address on January 31; his topic will be “Black Wagner: The Question of Race Revisited,” focusing on the relationship between Wagner and black artists, such as writer W.E.B. Du Bois and contralto Luranah Aldridge, who nearly sang at Bayreuth in 1896. Other Wagner experts participating in the conference will address topics including “Space, River and City in Wagner’s Ring,” “The Brünnhilde Problem: Wagner’s German Women,” and “Diggin’ the Ring: An American Folk Opera.” Among music presentations are an evening of silent film, featuring the screening of Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen: Siegfried, with live musical accompaniment; the USC Symphony Orchestra will perform excerpts from the Ring and Tristan und Isolde. A complete calendar of events is available here.

Posted January 28, 2013