The premise is an ambitious one. Spread across four weekends, the programme is loosely structured around Wagner’s opera cycle The Ring, asking how its themes – wealth, desire, dynasty – manifest themselves in today's world. The list of speakers is extensive, so we’ve picked out a few essentials.
Svetlana Alexievich: Putin and Power
Sun 29 May
In 2015, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Few others can claim such an extensive knowledge of post-Soviet Russia. As an inveterate collector of stories, Alexievich's years of research and conversation have left her with a profound understanding of a nation in flux. Expect readings from her work, as well as reflections on the international scene.
Tariq Ali: The 1% and the Twilight of Democracy, Keynote Address
Sun 26 June
Concerns about the health of democracy are nothing new, but when a government finds itself unable to impose tax increases on a corporation for fear it will leave the country, where does authority truly lie? Celebrated writer and lifelong leftist Tariq Ali takes on this question and more, examining democracy’s struggle in the 21st century.
Slavoj Žižek: Power and Betrayal, Keynote Address
Sat 2 July
Perhaps you already know Slavoj Žižek from his dissections of the ideology underpinning Kung Fu Panda. If not, a brief introduction: he’s a Slovenian philosopher and critic, able to seamlessly apply the likes of Hegel and Marx to the stuff of pop culture. Now, he brings his finely honed analytic toolkit to Wagner’s The Ring, drawing out its enduring lessons about the nature of power.
Yeonmi Park: Escape from North Korea
Sat 2 July
When she was thirteen, Yeonmi Park and her family fled North Korea’s totalitarian regime. Their journey to freedom was a terrifying and brutal ordeal, chronicled in Yeonmi’s memoir In Order To Live. Now a student of criminal justice and an activist, she’s spoken at the UN, offering insight into a country which remains obscure to most.
|What||Power of Power, Southbank Centre|
|Where||Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
29 May 16 – 09 Oct 16, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the Southbank Centre website or call the box office on 0207 960 4200|