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Performing the Orient: Edward Said’s Aida

Colloquium Muziekwetenschap
Wouter Capitain

May 15, 15:30-17:00
Universiteitstheater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, room 3.01

Since the publication of Edward Said’s essay on Verdi’s Aida, the relations between this opera and its colonial context have been much debated. Although these relations are usually approached from a historical perspective, I will argue that it is necessary for musicology to reflect on the contemporary position Aida in operatic performance. More specifically, I will consider how racism continues to affect performances of Aida. Therewith, I attempt to bridge the presumed (and semi-institutionalised) binary between cultural and historical musicology by arguing that, at least concerning methodologies, no fundamental distinction can or should be made between the two subdisciplines. Indeed, historical musicology might be more cultural than it pretends to be, whereas cultural musicology is actually much preoccupied with historical contextualisation.