Music at the Centre for African Studies Basel

25 Oct 2022

Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Basel | Vortragssaal | Petersgraben 27 | 4051 Basel

Schweizerische Musikforschende Gesellschaft | Department of Musicology and Center for African Studies, University of Basel

Public event, Guest lecture / Talk

Lena van der Hoven: "South African Opera Discourses of Heritage and History"

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Lena van der Hoven (Bern)

Lena van der Hoven presents part of her current research project on opera in post-apartheid South Africa.
In September 2022 Hendrik Hofmeyrs opera Sara Baartman premiered in Cape Town with a controversial interpretation of her own agency in her life, though Sarah Baartmans exploitation as the “Hottentot Venus” in 19th century Europe has been widely scholarly discussed with respect to race, gender, slavery and colonialism (Pumla Dineo Gqola 2018, Yvette Abrahams 2000, David Johnson 2007). After the reclamation of her remains in 2002 her burial place became a national heritage site and then President Thabo Mbeki pointed out to the connections of the racists projects of enlightenment which informed white supremacy at the time. Lena van der Hoven will discuss how this newest South African opera composition takes part in those discources of South African heritage and history and how the opera production needs to be seen in a canon of new opera compositions, which since the democratization in 1994 significantly address historical and political figures of South Africa.

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