Professor Michael Steinberg, renowned American musicologist, is guest speaker at The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA)’s Great Texts / Big Question lecture at 17:00 on Thursday 2 September 2010. He will discuss ‘Is Richard Wagner (still) dangerous? Reflections on race, politics and The Ring of the Nibelung.’ This free public lecture takes place at Hiddingh Hall, on the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town.

Steinberg will reflect on how performers and scholars have confronted Richard Wagner (1813 to 1883) and the Ring‘s monumental mixture of music and drama, art and politics, myth and history. He is currently dramaturg and responsible for research and development of a new production of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung, which is being jointly produced by the Teatro alla Scala Milano and the German State Opera. “My role as dramaturg is an opportunity to mix practice and scholarship to shape a contemporary production of the Ring in all its canonicity and controversy,” said Steinberg.

The Ring of the Nibelung is a monumental series of operas based on Norse mythology and written by the controversial German composer over a 26 year period. The four operas were first performed in a single cycle in 1876.

Professor Steinberg is the Director of the Cogut Center for the Humanities, the Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney Professor of History, and Professor of Music at Brown University, New York. He serves as Associate Editor of The Musical Quarterly and The Opera Quarterly. His main research interests include the cultural history of modern Germany and Austria with particular attention to German Jewish intellectual history and the cultural history of music.

UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) was established to enhance the arts within the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the broader community, whilst facilitating a broad range of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. The Great Texts / Big Questions lecture series aims to engender a culture of exchange of ideas, opinion and conjecture.

For more information, and up-to-date Great Texts / Big Questions dates and speakers visit, call (021) 480 7156 or e-mail

Michael Steinberg audio recording available for download.

Michael Steinberg video recording:

Start: 2 Sep ’10 5:30 pm

End: 2 Sep ’10 7:00 pm

Cost: Free


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156 

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa