8 March 2018: Sir Roger Scruton talks about Parsifal


On 8 March 2018, Roger Scruton will give a guest lecture on his interpretation of Wagner’s final music drama at the invitation of Prof. Francis Maes (musicology) and Prof. Bart Vandenabeele (Aesthetics). The philosopher Alicja Gecsinska, well known for her enchanting television series Wanderlust on Canvas, introduces the work and thinking of Sir Roger and will chair the discussion afterwards.

In his recent publication On human nature, philosopher Roger Scruton criticizes the sceptic worldviews and philosophies of what constitutes human life that are current today. He argues for a revision of the contribution ancient myths, religions and works of art may bring to modern thinking on human life. At the end of his essay, he refers to two outstanding works of art that deal explicitly with the theme of guilt and redemption. These are Wagner’s Parsifal and Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The author does not develop this reference any further in his essay, considering that all philosophy should pale in significance in the company of such great aesthetic achievements. However, it is legitimate to read those lines as a promise to develop this line of thinking further with concrete reference to the works of art in question.

On Parsifal, we take him at his word. The focus on Parsifal justifies itself through the programming of the Flanders Opera. The opera house presents the challenging combination of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Wagner’s Parsifal, in the acclaimed production of Tatjana Gürbaca. On March 9th, the Opera will host its own symposium on both works, focusing on the perspective of theatre practice. The combination between the philosophical reading of Roger Scruton and the perspectives on theatre practice should make for a challenging incentive to renew our thinking about these operatic masterpieces, and about a controversial work like Parsifal in particular.


Practical information

Date: Thursday 8 March 2018

Location: Ghent University, Campus Boekentoren, Blandijnberg 2, Auditorium 2 Franz Cumont

Time: 5 p.m.

Entrance free