The Great War
The Great War

The Great War: Cultural Reverberations Across Europe

Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

The First World War collapsed empires, redrew national boundaries, caused cataclysmic change in a generation of Europeans, and revolutionized long-held worldviews all across Europe. From 1914­-18, “The Great War” raged amid a vast crisis of cultural confidence. The war to end all wars was a monumental catastrophe, one of history’s major turning points. Yet among The Great War’s legacies of drastic political, social, and cultural change in Europe has been its immense artistic response in music, art, literature, and film.

“What did you do in the Great War Mr. Joyce?”
“I wrote Ulysses. What did you do?”

Friday, May 1, 2014, 7:30-9:30 pm

The Great War: Monumental Catastrophe, Cataclysmic Change / Tyler Stovall (UCSC). World War I marks the beginning of the twentieth century, and the modern age in general. It replaced the self-assured European civilization of the nineteenth century with a new era based not on peace and progress but on conflict and uncertainty.  It toppled empires, replacing them with uncertain experiments in liberal democracy, socialist revolution, and fascism. Finally, as the first truly global conflict, it created the idea of a unified world that has remained with us ever since. This keynote outlines the main features of the war, both on and off the battlefield, a cataclysm that both destroyed the old world and at the same time created the new era.

Performance: Postwar Parisian Mélodies / Daniel Lockert and Eliane Lust (piano) withMolly Wilson (soprano). In 1917 Paris, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev and Les Ballets Russes created the ballet Parade, a work of derision and a great scandal. Men were dying at the front and, in Paris, it had become the practice to mock established values. The contrast between the brutality of the modern world and the poetic universe of the ballet is a bias of lightness in the middle of The Great War. Following this, a tremendous creative output emerged, starting with the collaboration of Satie, Cocteau and a group of new musicians known as Les Six. They wanted to break with the past and with impressionism, and to create an everyday music with a style closer to that of popular Parisian night life.

Saturday, May 2, 2015, 10 am – noon and 1:30-4:00 pm

The War Within the War / Adam Hochschild (Mother Jones and UC Berkeley)The First World War was such a momentous historical turning point that we forget that, at the time, many people questioned whether it should be fought at all. In each of the major countries that took part there was tension between those who felt the war was a glorious and necessary crusade and those who felt the immense scale of killing made participating in the war an act of madness. Nowhere was the conflict more dramatic than in Britain, where more than 20,000 men of military age refused to be drafted. Many conscientious objectors also rejected alternative defense work, and some 6,000 of them went to prison under extremely harsh conditions—the largest number of people, up to that time, ever imprisoned for political reasons in a Western democracy. This moral battle over the war is one that Adam Hochschild brings alive here in a talk accompanied by photographs, film and music.

Postwar Art and Gender Dynamics / Jennifer Shaw (Sonoma State University). The First World War fundamentally changed gender dynamics in Europe. Social changes resulting from the war led to the emergence of the “modern woman” or “garçonne.”—a woman who wore trousers, cropped her hair, drove a car, and even smoked. The modern woman was, in theory, both intellectually and sexually free and uninterested in giving up her freedom to return to the hearth and home. The Modern Woman was for some a positive figure of liberation and for others a source of great worry. The War had resulted in greater casualties than had ever been known. In France, anyone who didn’t fulfill traditional gender roles and thus help to boost the population was considered a threat to the reconstruction of France. Not surprisingly, cultural anxieties resulting from the trauma of WWI were also projected onto homosexuals. In the face of these perceived threats to the social order, the reconstruction of France involved a cultural campaign to promote traditional values through art and literature. At the same time, Dadaists, Surrealists and other members of the avant-garde challenged this conservatism and the cultural values that they perceived as having led to the destructive war.

Performance. Kabarett! Join the Matlock Duo–husband and wife team Daniel Lockert and Jenny Matteucci–as they recreate music from the golden era of the Weimar Republic, the period in Germany between World War 1 and 2. This period of music was renowned for its cultural and political cabarets (or Kabaretts). It was a period of enormous artistic creativity, where classical and popular music commingled and was heavily influenced by the new phenomenon of jazz. No subject was taboo in the world of the Weimar Republic, heavily centered in Berlin. We begin with the music of Frederick Hollander (1896-1976) and Mischa Spoliansky (1898-1985), culminating in the foremost representative of the style, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), with music from his popular “Die Dreigroschenoper” (3-Penny Opera) and beautiful art songs of the period.

“That Old Lie”: Literature and Art After World War I. Bruce Avery (SFSU).  In April of 1922 Konstantin Stanislavski, the co-founder of the Moscow Art Theater and the father of modern acting technique, told his friend and colleague Vladimir Nemirovich that he no longer wanted to produce Chekov’s works—the very plays that had established the MAT and Stanislavski’s own method and career.  His reason?  “After all we’ve been through it’s no longer possible to weep over the fact that an officer is going and leaving his lady friend behind.”  What they had “been through” was World War I, and Stanislavski’s response to that war is characteristic of an entire generation of writers and artists across the western world.  The problem for them was this: once they decided the old stories were no longer worth telling, what kind of stories could they tell?  The answer to that question produced a revolution in art and literature across the globe, an outpouring of paintings, stories, poems, novels, and plays new in both subject and form.

Panel Discussion/Q&A with all presenters, moderated by George Hammond (Humanities West)


Bruce Avery is Professor of Theater Arts at San Francisco State University. He holds a PhD in English Literature and Classics from UC Santa Cruz.  He has written on Spenser, Joyce, Kipling, Salman Rushdie, Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare, and pedagogy.  He is an actor and director, and has played Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, Polonius in Hamlet, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Old CapuletinRomeo & Juliet, among others.  His directing credits include Venus in Fur, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and Woody Allen’s God, among others, and he will direct Much Ado About Nothing later this year.

Adam Hochschild began his journalism career as a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. Subsequently he worked as a magazine editor and writer, at Ramparts and Mother Jones. His work has been published in The New YorkerHarper’sThe AtlanticThe New York Times Magazine and other newspapers and magazines. He is the author of seven books, including King Leopold’s Ghost and Finding the Trapdoor, a collection of his shorter pieces. His acclaimed book, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (2011), made The New York Times Bestseller List. Bury the Chains(2005) was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the LA TimesBook Prize; his magazine writing has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists and elsewhere. Hochschild has consulted for the BBC and has taught writing workshops for working journalists in the US, Britain, Zambia, South Africa and India.

Daniel Lockert, a multi-talented pianist/collaborator, was honored as the only American finalist at the first International Accompanying Competition held in Den Hague, the Netherlands. He has been praised for exhibiting a strong sense of rhythm, lovely variety of touches, and a convincing sense of historical style. He has performed throughout the US and around the globe, in Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Lockert has partnered with notable singers including Deborah Voight, Enrico di Giuseppe, Brenda Boozer, Janice Taylor and Christopheren Nomura, and with the Alexander String Quartet. Lockert studied piano from age of five, received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Loma Linda University, and studied for an advanced degree at USC in accompanying, studying with the renowned Gwendolyn Koldofsky. He is professor of Collaborative Piano at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. He has also taught at Julliard School, the SF Conservatory of Music, and Chapman University, and served on the coaching staffs at the SF Opera, Opera San Jose, and the Aspen Music Festival.

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Eliane Lust is an American classical pianist who was raised in Belgium. Her principle teachers, legendary concert pianists Leonard Shure and György Sebök mark her education directly to the great classical German and Hungarian musical traditions of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt. Lust is devoted to a tremendous repertoire range from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Debussy and Liszt to such modernists as Frederic Rzewski, Charles Shere, Leon Kirchner, Horaţiu Rădulescu, Ron McFarland, Darius Milhaud and John Cage, most of whom she has worked with closely.

Soprano Jenny Matteucci studied at the SF Conservatory of Music and holds a BFA and an MFA in Vocal Performance from Notre Dame de Namur University, where she now teaches on the voice faculty. A featured performer in Beach Blanket Babylon, other roles include Adelaide (Guys and Dolls), Annie (Annie Get Your Gun), Mickey (My One and Only), Nurse (Sunday in the Park with George), and Jenny (Three Penny Opera). In addition to performing with Theater Works and Marin Theater Company, she has recently appeared in “Berlin to Broadway,” “Little Women,” The Light in the Piazza, The Marriage of Figaro, Side by Side by Sondheim, and I Love a Piano. Her greatest passion is to perform her cabaret “For the Love of…” with her husband, Daniel Lockert. Jenny also directs Tri-Valley Rep Broadway Chorus and teaches voice in Oakland.

Jennifer L. Shaw’s work centers on historical analysis of issues such as modernity, the unconscious, gender, sexuality, subjectivity and nationalism in the visual arts. She received her Masters degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and her PhD from UC Berkeley. She has taught at UC Berkeley and Stanford and is currently Professor of Art History at Sonoma State University. Her publications include articles on nineteenth-century French paintings of the nude, French Impressionism, the Symbolist movement, the French national mural painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and the photomontages and writings of Claude Cahun. Shaw’s publications include Dream States: Puvis de Chavannes, Modernism and the Fantasy of France (2002) and Reading Claude Cahun’s Disavowals (2013).  Her bookExist Otherwise: the Life and Work of Claude Cahun was commissioned byReaktion Press, London and will appear shortly.

Tyler Stovall is a professor of French history and Dean of Humanities at UCSC. He has written several books and articles on modern French history, focusing on race, labor, colonialism, and postcolonialism. Major publications include The Rise of the Paris Red Belt(1990), Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (1996), and The Color of Liberty: Histories of Race in France (co-edited with Sue Peabody, 2003). A new book, Paris and the Spirit of 1919: Consumer Struggles, Transnationalism, and Revolution, is forthcoming. He is working on a textbook, Universal Nation: a transnational history of modern France. He serves on the Humanities West Advisory Council.

Molly Wilson, a native of Richmond, VA, is a recent graduate of the SF Conservatory of Music. While in school Molly performed the role of Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) as well as Lady with a Hand Mirror (Postcard from Morocco) in a special co-production with Portland Opera. She was a featured soloist in the Conservatory’s new music concert series, the Blueprint Festival, performing David Del Tredici’s monodrama Dracula. She made her professional debut last summer with Pocket Opera singing the role of Anne Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor). As a Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara in their 2014-15 season, Molly performed the role of Lucy (The Telephone), and Elvira (L’italiana in Algeri). She received her Bachelor’s degree at Lawrence University.


Charlemagne: The Father of Western Europe

Moderator: Fred Astren, San Francisco State University

Charlemagne: Myth, Reality, and Legacy / Geoffrey Koziol (UC Berkeley). Even in his own time Charlemagne was known as “the father of Europe.” For once, reality lives up to legend. Charlemagne created a Western European empire, one of the few real empires Europe has ever had. It was often a nasty, violent, and ruthless enterprise, and it ended almost as soon as it had begun. But out of the need to first justify his empire and then save it, Charlemagne created a political ethics different from any before, whether Greek, Roman, or Christian. That legacy is with us still. It is the “Social” in European Social Democracy.

Performance / The men of the a cappella vocal ensemble

Clerestory present Love and the Knight, a tribute to the music-loving Frankish king Charlemagne and his musical legacy in Europe. Beginning with Gregorian Chant and the mystical songs of Hildegard von Bingen, and continuing through the Continental Renaissance and the Romantic masters, Clerestory will lend its clear voices–from countertenor to bass–to songs both sacred and amorous. Flemish polyphony, the French troubadors, the German Männerchor; all these trace their history to the great knight-king who celebrated music in his own age. Introduced by Clifford (Kip) Cranna, San Francisco Opera.More information.

Humanities West Board Fellow Dimitrios Latsis has archived selected program materials, including audio of lectures and performances if available, at the non-profit Internet Archive here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015, 10:00 am – noon and 1:30-4:00 pm

Art Around Charlemagne / Lawrence Nees (University of Delaware). Charlemagne figures prominently in every history of art, and the artistic developments of his time set new directions that would be followed for centuries. The great palace chapel that he built at Aachen survives, but many of the gorgeous illuminated manuscripts and ivory carvings and buildings associated with him were probably not products of his direct patronage. Perhaps it is not in spite of, but because of, his limited personal role that new artistic ideas and practices spread so widely and effectively, through a wide and shifting network of officials stemming from all over Western Europe. Their varying backgrounds enriched not only works produced at and for the court, but promoted rich exchanges of people and ideas that also stimulated responses across Europe. The royal and imperial court of Charlemagne thus played a crucial but limited role in creating and promoting art, and thereby enhanced its impact.

Charlemagne’s Christianity and the Carolingian Renaissance/ Martin Claussen (University of San Francisco). The Christian churches in the middle ages were rich and sometimes powerful institutions, controlling land, treasure, belief, literacy, and education. Like most kings in the period, Charlemagne understood the uses to which churches and religion might be put: propaganda could be disseminated, wealth appropriated, and personnel drafted, all in the service of rulers. Charlemagne himself, coming from a long line of powerful men who acted in this fashion, did just that. But unlike many other kings, as his reign progressed, Charlemagne began to take religion more and more seriously, and he has left us a record of his deepening devotion to the tenets of Christianity. During his long reign (768-814), we can see the effects of his increasingly serious beliefs not only in his personal life, but throughout the vast territories he controlled, as he sponsored or supported a renewal of religion that has come to be known as the Carolingian Renaissance.

Performance: A Lover, Not a Fighter / Kip Cranna (San Francisco Opera) traces the literary transformation of Charlemagne’s legendary warrior Roland from hot-headed fighter to jealousy-crazed lover, as recounted in the Chanson de Roland (1140), Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (1532), and Handel’s Orlando (1731). Clifton Massey (countertenor) will be accompanied by Dwight Okamura (piano).

Women and Textiles in the Carolingian World / Valerie Garver (Northern Illinois University).  Both women and the textiles played crucial social, political, and religious roles in the Carolingian world. Fabricating cloths and clothing helped give women a prominent place in Carolingian culture and allowed them to fulfill male expectations that women act morally and care for their households. Women participated in the lasting efforts of Carolingian leaders, not least Charlemagne, to delineate differences more sharply among peoples and spaces because they made the textiles that helped put these ideas into practice. As a result textiles and clothing came to mark status, identity, gender, and religious estate in ways that we can sometimes still see in our own world. Because scholars have only relatively recently come to appreciate the importance of women and textiles in the early Middle Ages, using these subjects to examine Charlemagne’s era provides some new perspectives on this influential European empire.

Panel Discussion/Q&A with All Presenters

Moderated by Fred Astren


Clerestory features Jesse Antin, Kevin Baum, John Bischoff, Dan Cromeenes, Chris Fritzsche, Corey Head, David Kurtenbach, James Monios, and Justin Montigne. Clerestory is the Bay Area’s acclaimed classical a cappella ensemble. Veterans of SF’s finest professional vocal groups, Clerestory’s singers, from countertenor to bass, remain members of the Bay Area choral community and pride themselves on providing unparalleled performances to local audiences. Clerestory is named for cathedral architecture whereby upper windows let in daylight. The ensemble tells the “clear story” of the music it performs through sophisticated performances grounded in decades of experience singing together. Clerestory has been described as “distinctive voices blending in a gorgeous sound” by San Francisco Classical Voice, and “a model of what a great choral concert should be” by BBC Magazine columnist Chloe Veltman. Clerestory’s website features free archived concert recordings and a private e-mail list sign-up. Clerestory is a tax-exempt non-profit that relies on the generosity of its community to sustain its progressive mission.

Martin Claussen (Professor, Saint Ignatius Institute, and Professor of History, University of San Francisco) received his PhD in late antique and early medieval history from the University of Virginia. He has published articles about religion and belief in both these periods, and is the author of a book on early Carolingian church reform.

Clifford (Kip) Cranna, Dramaturg at San Francisco Opera, has served on the staff since 1979. He has a BA in music from University of North Dakota and a PhD in musicology from Stanford. He has served as vocal adjudicator for numerous groups, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council. For 30 years he was Program Editor and Lecturer for the Carmel Bach Festival. He lectures and writes frequently on music, teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory, and often moderates panel discussions such as the Opera Guild’s “Insights.” In 2008 he was awarded the San Francisco Opera Medal, the company’s highest honor, and in 2012 he received the Bernard Osher Cultural Award for distinguished efforts to bring excellence to a cultural institution. Dr. Cranna was a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of Chanticleer, a professional vocal ensemble. He is currently on the board of Humanities West and the Advisory Board of the contemporary music group Opera Parallele.

Valerie L. Garver (PhD, University of Virginia) is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University.  Her research interests center upon the early Middle Ages, particularly the social history of the Carolingian Empire. She is most engaged in questions concerning the history of women, gender, childhood, and family and the historical and interdisciplinary study of material culture. Her publications include Women and Aristocratic Culture in the Carolingian World (2009). She is currently working on a second book titled “The Meanings and Uses of Textiles and Clothing in the Carolingian World,” which examines a crucial form of early medieval material culture. Her research has been supported by a Solmsen Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Fulbright Program, the American Philosophical Society, and by grants from Northern Illinois University, University of Virginia, and University of Notre Dame.

Geoffrey Koziol (PhD, Stanford) is Professor of History at UC Berkeley. His interests include   politics and ritual in late Carolingian and Capetian France; Carolingian and post-Carolingian monasticism; political power and religious discourse; diplomatic (the study of charters and diplomas); and historiography. He teaches courses ranging widely from northern European culture from the Merovingians to the eve of the Hundred Years’ War, but especially kingship, historiography, archaeology, women, monasticism, the cult of saints, ritual, liturgy, propaganda, political theory, and the transformation of political communities from kingdoms to states, as well as contemporary political mythologies of medieval history. His published work includes The Politics of Memory and Identity in Carolingian Royal Diplomas: The West Frankish Kingdom (840-987) (2012) and Begging Pardon and Favor: Ritual and Political Order in Early Medieval France (1992).

Clifton Massey (countertenor) has been praised for “impeccable phrasing and intonation,” as “an expressive marvel” by San Francisco Classical Voice, and for “depth of tone” by Dallas Morning News. Clifton has appeared as soloist with notable period-instrument groups including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Concert Royal NYC, American Bach Soloists, and the Dallas Bach Society. He has sung with Ensemble viii, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Clerestory and with the award-winning ensemble Chanticleer with whom he performed over 200 concerts, including the Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo Opera City and some of the world’s finest concert halls. Clifton works with area choral groups and currently directs the high school group Ecco of the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, internationally known for their commitment to training the finest musicians of tomorrow. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University and the Indiana University Early Music Institute, where he studied with Paul Elliott, Alan Bennett and Paul Hillier.

Lawrence Nees (PhD, Harvard) is Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware since 1978. His books include The Gundohinus Gospels (1987), A Tainted Mantle: Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court (1991), and Early Medieval Art (2002); he recently submitted for publication a book manuscript Perspectives on Early Islamic Art in Jerusalem, and is currently completing two other books. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Mellon Foundation, and residential fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He served from 2008-2014 as Vice-President and then President of the International Center of Medieval Art.

Dwight Okamura
 has been the orchestral pianist for the Berkeley Symphony, the California Symphony, the Skywalker Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. He has accompanied various Bay Area vocal ensembles including Chanticleer, Musae, Young Woman’s Choral Projects, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Dwight is a keyboardist with the Best of Broadway series, and has played for the pre- Broadway premiers of “Beautiful”, “Wicked”, “The Mambo Kings”, “Lestat”, “Legally Blonde” and “Mamma Mia”, in addition to “The Lion King” and the revival of “A Chorus Line”, where he also played on the cast recording.

Humanities West Roman Republic release 10_24_14
Humanities West Roman Republic release 10_24_14

The Roman Republic: 509-27 BCE

Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

From its legendary origins as a tiny cluster of villages in the Italian countryside, ancient Rome grew into a vast metropolis and the dominant power of the Mediterranean. Leaders of the Roman Republic established a constitutional framework that embodied principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, and the rights and duties of citizenship (for some), a model that endured for centuries. Ultimately civil strife exacerbated by wide disparities in social and economic well-being and the strains of governing a far-flung empire doomed Cicero’s Republican Rome in the first century BCE. From its modeling of democratic values to its golden age of drama and its Greek- and Etruscan-inspired art, the Roman Republic was a major turning point in western civilization that inspires us to this day.

Presented in collaboration with the Consul General of Italy in San Francisco and the Italian Cultural Institute.

Friday, October 24, 2014, 7:30-9:30 pm

City-State, Republic, Empire: What was the Roman Republic Really Like? / Walter Scheidel (Stanford). The Roman Republic was a bundle of contradictions: the liberty of citizens who were entitled to elect their leaders and enjoyed protections against abuse by state officials sat uneasily alongside the brutal exploitation of provincial subjects and slaves; while popular assemblies chose magistrates, passed laws and voted on war and peace, a handful of aristocratic families maintained a tight grip on politics for centuries; an empire that came to span the entire Mediterranean was governed by a set of institutions designed for a small city-state on the Tiber; massive armies were raised without the help of a bureaucracy or indeed much of a government at all; Roman society was open to foreign religions and philosophies but jealously guarded the privileges of a small elite from the Italian peninsula. How did it all work, and work so well for such a long time – until it no longer did?

Plautus’ Casina in Performance / Stanford Classics in Theatre (SCIT). SCIT takes a theatrical approach to the Roman Republic with an original translation and adaptation of Titus Maccius Plautus’ Casina. First performed in the 2nd century BCE, Casina is Plautus at his lewd and lyrical best–a classic farce of thwarted lust and scheming wives, with a healthy dose of transvestitism thrown in for good measure. Updated for a modern audience, the production is set in San Francisco during the Gilded Age, and offers a new take on Roman comedy’s classic plots, stock characters, and surprisingly racy jokes. Through the performance, SCIT hopes to promote enthusiasm for the drama of the Roman Republic by bringing text back to life with music, costumes, and dance.
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 10:00 am – noon and 1:30-4:00 pm

Art of the Roman Republic / Lisa Pieraccini (UC Berkeley). The art of the Roman Republic characterizes best the growth of Rome from a city to a world capital. Early Roman art was infused with Etruscan and Italic traditions, while increased contact with Greece and Greek art played a significant role in the development of Republican and Imperial art. By looking at a handful of iconic works of Roman art from 500 BCE to the end of the 1st century BCE, it is possible to recognize the borrowed artistic motifs, subjects and styles used to express Roman culture, ideology and identity. The Roman use of art, particularly for political and social gain, took shape in this early period. There is little doubt that Roman art, with its diversity and wide ranging appeal, makes it one of the most conspicuous and numerous bodies of art from the ancient world.

The Religious Republic: How Did Romans Worship Their Gods? / Dan-el Padilla Peralta(Stanford and Columbia). Among the most fundamental of ideas that Romans of the Republic held about the divine was the conviction that events in the real world—viz. the Roman state’s military accomplishments—ought to be interpreted as signs of the gods’ support for the Roman cause, and that this support could be maintained (or lost) by the Roman state’s scrupulousness (or negligence) in attending to divine worship. Mr. Padilla Peralta traces the historical development of the Roman divine pantheon and discusses the modes of ritual observance and mechanisms of divination that Romans employed to honor their gods and to ascertain the gods’ will, especially in times of crisis. He concludes with some thoughts on Republican religion in comparative perspective. Elsewhere on the Eurasian land mass, transcendentalist religious and philosophical movements of various kinds emerged at this time; are the Romans, with their famously pragmatic approach to religious cult, the exception to the trend, or is there more to Roman religion than meets the eye?

Cicero: Eloquence Personified Then and Now / Christopher Krebs (Stanford). It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America. In his first campaign for president, Barack Obama promised change; yet in formulating that promise he relied on rhetorical rules (like the climactic tricolon), which for more than 2,000 years have remained unchanged. Across the ages another politician and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, can help us analyze and appreciate Obama’s and other contemporary politicians’ rhetorical accomplishment. We will look at excerpts from speeches by Presidents Obama and Clinton, and by Pericles, Cicero, and Tacitus, with an eye to their enactments of specific rhetorical rules–formulated in ancient times and followed to this day.

Virgil Through the Looking Glass / Susanna Braund (University of British Columbia). Virgil’s poems–his pastoral laments and celebrations (Eclogues), his meditation on humans’ relationship to the land (Georgics), and his foundation epic for the Roman people (Aeneid)–were instantly acclaimed as great poetic achievements when published during the last years of the Roman Republic and the first years of the Principate. And for more than two thousand years, these magical poems have retained their appeal. In our age of ephemerality, this abiding attraction must strike us as amazing. Virgil’s texts have offered a mirror for every reader to find whatever message she or he wishes, for example, royalist or republican, proto-fascist or anti-Nazi, Catholic or Protestant, populist or elitist, belligerent or pacifist, engaged or escapist. And since so many people now encounter Virgil not in Latin but in translations, Professor Braund focuses on the role of Virgil’s translators in refracting the Roman poet. The crucial question becomes, do we ever truly see Virgil through the looking glass? Or do the imperfections of the mirror mean that we are only ever looking at ourselves?

Virgil’s First Eclogue in Performance, featuring acclaimed Bay Area Actors James Carpenterand Julian Lopez-Morillas. Introduced by Susanna BraundVirgil’s First Eclogue is a 100-line dialogue between two herdsmen whose lives have been affected in opposite ways by the civil wars that ravaged Italy at the end of the Republic. Seamus Heaney reimagined Virgil in his pastoral “Glanmore Eclogue,” presented here.

Panel Discussion/Q&A with All Presenters, moderated by George Hammond (Humanities West)


Susanna Braund moved to the University of British Columbia in 2007 to take up a Canada Research Chair in Latin Poetry and its Reception after teaching previously at Stanford University, Yale University, and the Universities of London, Bristol and Exeter in the UK.  She has published extensively on Roman satire and Latin epic poetry among other aspects of Latin literature. She has translated Lucan for the Oxford World’s Classics series and Persius and Juvenal for the Loeb Classical Library. Her current research interests center on the reception of Virgil, Lucan and Seneca’s tragedies in later eras, in various European languages and cultures. Her major project is a book entitled ‘Virgil Translated’ which will explore the different ways in which later cultures reacted to and appropriated Virgil’s poems in the process of translating them. Virgil’s Aeneid, described by T.S. Eliot as “the classic of all Europe,” continues to speak to different readerships even today.

A longtime Bay Area resident, James Carpenter has just finished his 11th season as an Associate Artist at Cal Shakes, having last appeared as Duncan, the Porter, and others in Macbeth (2010). Other Bay Area credits include ACT. San Jose Rep, Aurora Theatre Co., TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He performed at Berkeley Rep in over 30 productions in his 12 years there as an Associate Artist, is the Honoree of the B. A. T. C. C. 2007 Barbara Bladen Porter Award for consistent excellence in Theater, and was awarded a 2010 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship from the Ten Chimneys Foundation. Out-of-town credits include: The Old Globe Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Arizona Theatre Company, and The Huntington. Television: Nash Bridges. Film: The Rainmaker and Metro. Independents: Singing, Presque Isle, The Sunflower Boy.

Christopher B Krebs is Associate Professor of Classics at Stanford. He has also held appointments at Harvard, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), and the University of Oxford. His research interests are in ancient historiography, Latin lexicography, and the classical tradition. His most recent monograph is A Most Dangerous Book. Tacitus’ Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, which won the 2012 Christian Gauss Award. He is currently engaged in studies of Caesar and the intellectual life of the first century BCE. He also enjoys writing for wider audiences to communicate his fascination with the ancient world and its long and lasting reach.

Dryden G. Liddle (PhD, History, Open University, UK and MA, Economics, Cambridge University) has had a long career in diplomacy with the UK Foreign Office and banking. His doctorate included research on Charles V’s financial secretary, 1520-1547, covering issues on the finance of the Habsburg wars and the emergence of the fiscal state, largely by taxing the Castilian towns and not through the silver inflow from the Americas as is often thought. With the resulting imperial over-stretch there is a clear parable with today, including the role of complex financial instruments, liquidity and subsequent solvency issues. Dr. Liddle leads the commemoration of August’s bi-millennial with the Humanities Member-Led Forum at the Commonwealth Club on October 13.

Julian Lopez-Morillas is a professional theatre actor, director and teacher who has lived in the SF Bay Area since 1973. He has performed for all the major Bay Area theatres including ACT, Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes, San Jose Rep, the Magic Theatre, the Aurora, San Jose Stage and many others, as well as the Denver Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf, McCarter and Chicago’s Court Theatre. He directed for many years with the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival (now California Shakespeare Theatre), and also for the Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Jewish Theatre, San Jose Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the American Players’ Theatre in Wisconsin. He has taught acting, directing, theatre history and Shakespeare for the University of California/Berkeley, San Jose State, Mills, Foothill and Solano Colleges. In 2008, Julian fulfilled one of his life goals by performing the role of Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, thus becoming one of the few individuals to have performed professionally in all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays. He is recognized throughout Northern California as a leading authority on Shakespeare plays and their performance. Julian has also been a two-day winner on JEOPARDY!

Dan-el Padilla Peralta (ABD, Stanford and 2014-15 Fellow, Columbia University) received a BA in Classics from Princeton and an MPhil in Classics (Greek and Roman History) from Oxford. Now a doctoral candidate in Classics at Stanford, he is completing his dissertation under the auspices of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow program. The dissertation,Gods of institutional transformation: a religious history of the middle Roman Republic, culls evidence from Republican poetry and prose, coinage, inscriptions, and archaeology to argue that (evolving) religious practices in Republican Rome and Roman Italy drove far-reaching social and institutional changes from the 4th to 2nd centuries BCE. Dan-el has contributed to Stanford’s ORBIS project (launched 2012) and maintains strong research interests in ancient travel and mobility. His memoir An American Odyssey(forthcoming Penguin, 2015) narrates his discovery of the Classics as an undocumented immigrant.

Lisa C. Pieraccini (PhD, UC Santa Barbara) has taught at Stanford and now teaches at UC Berkeley in History of Art. She is a classical archaeologist who has spent many years teaching and conducting research in Italy. Her research interests include Etruscan and Roman material culture; Pompeii’s early development and cultural relations with neighboring peoples; the rediscovery of Pompeii in the 18th century, as well as Etruscan and Roman wall painting. Active at the Etruscan site of Cerveteri north of Rome, her publications include Etruscan burial customs, ceramic workshops and international trade. Her book, Around the Hearth: Caeretan Cylinder-Stamped Braziers (2003) is the first comprehensive study of a unique class of over 350 Etruscan braziers. Her analysis examines different aspects of origin, production, iconography, style, chronology and distribution.

Walter Scheidel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and Catherine R. Kennedy and Daniel L. Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford, where is he currently Chair of the Classics Department. He has held appointments in Vienna, Cambridge, Paris, Innsbruck, Chicago, New York and Abu Dhabi. He is the author of three monographs and editor or co-editor of twelve other books, and has published close to 200 papers. His research focuses on ancient social and economic history, historical demography, state formation, and comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past. He also created the interactive website Orbis, a geospatial network model of the Roman world.

Stanford Classics in Theatre (SCIT) was founded by the graduate students of the department of Classics at Stanford. During the past six years, the general purpose of SCIT has been to bring together students from various academic backgrounds, both graduate and undergraduate, in order to promote an engagement with classical theater through original translation, rehearsal and production. This production of Plautus’ Casina was translated and produced in full by the students of Stanford. (


From Haydn to Schoenfield: Rockin’ the Sonata with the Saint Michael Trio

Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

Music at its most fun! Both Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Paul Schoenfield (1947- ) are highly formal in their structure, employing the sonata form. Both present their ideas in three movements, following an arc that moves from spritely to introspective to exuberant. Yet Franz Joseph Haydn composed sonatas at the dawn of Europe’s classical period and embodied the formalism of the 18th-century Enlightenment, while Detroit native Paul Schoenfield’s “Cafe Music” (1987) expresses the whimsy and energy of a 21st-century urban metropolis. Daniel Cher (violin), Michel Flexer (cello), and Russell Hancock (piano) — The Saint Michael Trio — demonstrate with passion, wit, and their own virtuosity how two utterly different composers use the same tools to express the sentiment of their age. Learn about them, watch and listen here.

Humanities West presents Rockin’ the Sonata, a special “informance” in our occasional series on the Arts and Humanities in a Material World. Expanding the title of Martin Scorsese’s documentary about George Harrison, Humanities West once again ponders how we can best go about Living in the Material World. The runaway success of material culture in the last two centuries has long overshadowed the pursuit of those subtler forms of happiness that are conveniently grouped as the Humanities and the Arts. How can we live rich lives in the arts while pursuing successful careers devoted to the ever more clever production of material comfort and pleasure? Humanities West board members George Hammond and Patricia Lundberg illustrate how by presenting the Saint Michael Trio, featuring Daniel Sher (violin), Michel Flexer (cello), and Russell Hancock (piano)—three men who can do exactly that—thrive in entrepreneurial careers AND Rock the Sonata.

Are you free for dinner or lunch?

Our presenters are fun and engaging meal companions. If you are a donor and would like to join us for dinner on Friday evening or lunch on Saturday afternoon during the programs, please download the reservation form (pdf document) and send it to:
City Box Office
180 Redwood Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
or purchase tickets online by visiting the CBO website.

Download the Saint Michael Trio postcard (pdf document)

Read what The Examiner has to say about this program

Friday, September 19, 2014 7:30pm

The InformanceBoth Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Paul Schoenfield (1947- ) are highly formal in their structure, employing the sonata form. Both present their ideas in three movements, following an arc that moves from spritely to introspective to exuberant. Yet Franz Joseph Haydn composed sonatas at the dawn of Europe’s classical period and embodied the formalism of the 18th-century Enlightenment, while Detroit native Paul Schoenfield’s “Cafe Music” (1987) both anticipates and expresses the whimsy and energy of a 21st-century urban metropolis. Daniel Cher (violin), Michel Flexer (cello), and Russell Hancock (piano)–The Saint Michael Trio–demonstrate with passion, wit, and their own virtuosity how two utterly different composers use the same tools to express the sentiment of their age.

There will be one intermission. Afterwards, meet the performers in the theatre lobby.

About the Performers

Established in 2007, the Saint Michael Trio is hailed as Silicon Valley’s update to the staid world of classical music. Rising quickly to prominence, the artists (Daniel Cher, Russell Hancock, Michel Flexer) earn acclaim for making their concerts interesting, accessible, and oftentimes funny. In addition to the classical masterworks, they perform jazz and even rock tunes, and their hallmark is mixing all of it in the same concert. In 2008 Saint Mike was named artists-in-residence at Menlo College, where they quickly outgrew the auditorium and established a rabid fan base. In 2010 they became affiliated artists at Notre Dame de Namur University and were installed as anchors in the Villa Chamber Series at Montalvo Arts Center. In 2012 they began a partnership with Stanford University, appearing to sold-out crowds at Dinkelspiel Auditorium where they deliver their trademark “informances” exploring classical composers in depth. The group has become the subject of considerable notoriety because all three artists maintain thriving careers in the private sector:

• Violinist DANIEL CHER won the undergraduate music prize at Stanford University and his concerto appearances include the Orchestra New England and the New Haven Symphony. A medical doctor, he designs and implements clinical trials for Bay Area medical device companies.

• Cellist MICHEL FLEXER performed throughout his youth with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra; while a student at Harvard he studied with Bernard Greenhouse at the New England Conservatory. A software engineer and a serial entrepreneur, he has worked most recently with C3, Gain Technologies and Siebel Systems.

• Pianist RUSSELL HANCOCK has appeared as concerto soloist with symphonies throughout the United States and his worldwide appearances include recitals from Taipei to Tapachula, Mexico. A member of the public policy faculty at Stanford, by day he is President & CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

Learn more about them, watch and listen to their music at