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Opera after Freud



Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 1:30pm - 6:00pm


Stanford Humanities Center



Opera after Freud

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The conference will take as its point of departure two peculiar facts: that interpreting (especially German) opera with Freud’s theories in mind is not just productive, but almost imperative at a particular moment of the form’s history (in particular after Wagner); and that psychoanalysis suddenly loses at least some of that heuristic purchase in the period after the first World War. We hope to detail and interrogate the elective affinities between Freudian psychoanalysis and fin-de-siècle opera in light of the severance of that affinity later in the twentieth century. What unspoken factors subtended the uncanny felicity of Freud as a paradigm for analyzing the operas of Wagner, Pfitzner, Schreker, Zemlinsky, Braunfels, etc., and what factors fell away in the wake of Schoenberg, Wolpe, Berg, and Weill?

Sponsored by the Office of the Associate Dean of the Humanities, the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Europe Center, and the Department of Music