Choruses: Ancient and Modern

Monday, September 13, 2010 - 12:00am to Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:00am
66 St Giles, Oxford; Jaqueline du Pré Music Building

The Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama is pleased to announce the 2010 Annual Conference on Choruses: Ancient and Modern.

The standard view of the ancient chorus as an encumbrance in the modern western world, where the individual rather than the collective is prized, needs serious scrutiny.

Not only does this overlook much dramatic theory and practice since the eighteenth century, it also ignores the monarchical contexts in which this intrinsically neo-classical view was developed. At the conference an international and interdisciplinary group of speakers (classicists, theatre historians, anthropologists, musicologists, philosophers as well as contemporary practitioners) will examine the various contexts in the modern world in which ancient choruses have been consciously imitated, shunned and on occasions dangerously travestied in the modern world.

The conference will therefore consider not only the aesthetics of the chorus but also the ways in which choruses have interacted (ritually, broadly socially and explicitly politically) with audiences in both antiquity and the modern world.


A detailed programme will be available soon. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Karen Ahlquist (George Washington) ‘Chorus and Community’
  • Joshua Billings (Oxford) ‘An Alien Body? Choral questions around 1800′
  • Claudia Bosse (theatre director) will lead a practical workshop
  • Laurence Dreyfus (Oxford) ‘Sunken in the "Mystical Abyss": The ‘choral’ orchestra in Wagner’s Music Dramas’
  • Zachary Dunbar (Central School of Speech and Drama) ‘The Politics of the Musical Chorus Line’
  • Simon Goldhill (Cambridge) ‘Choral Lyric(s)’
  • Erika Fischer-Lichte (Freie-Universität, Berlin) ‘From Reinhardt to Riefenstahl’
  • Albert Henrichs (Harvard) ‘Chorality and Modern Interpretations: Nietzsche, Benjamin and Burkert’
  • Sheila Murnaghan (UPenn) ‘The Choral Plot of Greek tragedy’
  • Martin Revermann (Toronto) ‘Brechtian Choralities’
  • Ian Rutherford (Reading) ‘Chorus, Song, Anthropology’
  • Roger Savage (Edinburgh) ‘Purists and Polymorphs: the Operatic Chorus to Rameau and Gluck’