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Acclaimed director Peter Sellars to speak Feb. 10 on "New Crowned Hope: The Arts in the Age of Obama"

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 02/06/09 • Media Contact: Sarah Gomez (603) 646-3661

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Peter Sellars
Peter Sellars (photo courtesy Telluride Film Festival)

Dartmouth’s winter-term Montgomery Fellows presentations will conclude with Peter Sellars, acclaimed theater, opera, and film director, who is scheduled to be in residence as a fellow Feb. 6 - 13. While at Dartmouth he will participate in Class Divide, the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ three-year, campus-wide community programming initiative examining the issue of class through arts. Sellars will present his public lecture, titled, “New Crowned Hope: The Arts in the Age of Obama,” on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 4:30 in Spaulding Auditorium.

A visionary artist, Sellars has staged operas, film, and theater productions internationally, generating new interpretations of classic works, promoting contemporary pieces, and creating new works himself, frequently in collaboration with composer John Adams. Their work together includes the operas Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), and Doctor Atomic (2005). Sellars is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 2006, Sellars served as artistic director for New Crowned Hope, a month-long arts festival that was part of Vienna’s 2006 Mozart Year, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Austrian composer’s birth. The New Crowned Hope festival, whose name derives from that of the Masonic lodge where Mozart gave his last public performance, included works of music, theater, dance, film, the visual arts and architecture commissioned from international artists of diverse cultural backgrounds. Six of the festival films will be shown at Dartmouth this winter, as part of a Loew film series.

“Sellars is a highly innovative director who often uses classic plays to make astute and timely comments on current political situations,” says Laura Edmondson, assistant professor of theater. Her winter term class, “Human Rights and Performance,” is one of several film, music, and theater classes Sellars will visit during his residency.

Richard Stamelman, Montgomery Endowment executive director says, “In so many areas of opera and theater Peter Sellars has transformed the way contemporary audiences perceive classic works by the world’s greatest composers and playwrights. His imagination, his sensibility, and his powerful sense of ethical beauty have given new life to these works, teaching us that ‘art is always a path, never a destination.’”

Established in 1977 through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth F. Montgomery (Dartmouth Class of 1925), the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Endowment was created “to provide for the advancement of the academic realm of the College in ways that will significantly add to the quality and character thereof, making possible major new dimensions for, as well as extraordinary enrichments to, the educational experience offered primarily to undergraduate students within the Dartmouth community.”

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