Private Theatre: Hysterical Opera in Freud's Vienna

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Private Theatre: Hysterical Opera in Freud's Vienna – An evening lecture by Gavin Plumley

  • Thu 9 May 2013
  • 7:00PM

Post-Wagnerian composers in Vienna, still immensely influenced by the Bayreuth behemoth, actively explored the kind of mental dissociation described in Freud and Breuer's Studies on Hysteria. Employing vast orchestras to create swirling psychodramas, their operas offer a beguiling artistic response to Anna O's idea of 'private theatre'. A few decades later many of those composers, exiled by the Nazis, employed the same soundworld to accompany the ultimate dissociative narratives of Hollywood's Silver Screen, creating a new combination of music and drama first envisioned by Wagner. Writer and musicologist Gavin Plumley looks at operas by Schreker, Korngold and their contemporaries through a Freudian lens.

Much of the repertoire featured in Gavin Plumley's talk forms the backbone of Michael Haas's new book Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis (published by Yale University Press), in which he looks at the contribution of Jewish composers in Germany and Austria before 1933. Michael Haas will introduce the volume and sign copies.

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, specialising in the music and culture of Central Europe. He has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and has recently spoken at the Royal Opera House, ENO, the CBSO, V&A and the Neue Galerie New York. He has given a number of talks at the Southbank Centre’s ‘The Rest is Noise’ festival this year and was recently appointed commissioning editor for the English language programmes at the Salzburg Festival.

Michael Haas was producer of London/Decca’s 'Entartete Musik' recording series and was music curator at the Jewish Museum in Vienna. He is presently research director of the Jewish Music Institute for Suppressed Music, SOAS, University of London.

Imported 1816

Freud Museum London

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