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Jasmin Solfaghari - Director, Odense Denmark Ring

Saturday February 9, 2019 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

JCC-SF - 3200 California Street

San Francisco, CA

Free to WSNC Members, suggested donation of $10 for guests

The Wagner Society of Northern California invites you to meet and hear:

Jasmin Solfaghari, Director and Master Teacher will discuss her career as an Assistant Director for the many of the greatest opera directors and as a Director in her own right.

To read a review of Solfaghari's RING in Odense here is a link to a review with photos of the production:

Bio and CV: Jasmin Solfaghari was born in Freiburg/Germany in 1963 as daughter of German-Persian parents. After having spent the first six years of her childhood in Teheran/Iran she got her school and musical education in Freiburg. In 1989 she graduated in stage directing at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg in the class of Prof. Götz Friedrich (diploma). 

 Positions and leading Positions

 2018 Leadership department Opera/Musicaltheatre at PAMY Mediaproductions, Switzerland.

2004 – 2006: Oberspielleiterin at Deutsche Oper Berlin with revivals of “Rheingold”, “Siegfried” (Götz Friedrich), “Lulu” (Götz Friedrich), “Die Tote Stadt” (Philippe Arlaud), “La Bohème” (Götz Friedrich), “Pelléas et Mélisande” (Marco Arturo Marelli), “Der Rosenkavalier” (Götz Friedrich), “Cav/Pag” (David Pountney).

2001 - 2004: Oberspielleiterin Musiktheater" at Stadttheater Bremerhaven: main director opera.

1994 -1998: assistant stage director of Hamburgische Staatsoper and has worked among others with Christine Mielitz, Harry Kupfer, Günther Krämer, Achim Freyer, Marco Arturo Marelli a.o. She was responsible for revivals such as: "Der Ring des Nibelungen", "Il Trittico"(also for TV), "Die Fledermaus", "Tristan und Isolde", a.o. 

During this period Jasmin Solfaghari collaborated with conductors such as Christian Thielemann, Sir Simon Rattle, Philippe Augin, Jacques Lacombe, Daniel Oren, Marc Albrecht, Antonello Allemandi, Gerd Albrecht, Donald Runnicles, Markus Stenz, Lothar Zagosek, a.o.

Jasmin Solfaghari worked with singers as Deborah Voigt (Debut Marschallin), Veronique Gens, Sophie Koch, Agnes Baltsa, Helga Dernesch, Gabriele Schnaut, Hanna Schwarz, Lisbeth Balslev, Angelika Kirchschlager, Monserrat Caballé, Barbara Daniels, Linda Watson, Evelyn Herlizius, Olga Romanko, Piotr Becala, Toopi Lehtipuu, Jean Marc Ainsley, Lioba Braun, Graham Clarc, Lance Ryan, Stefan Vinke, José Cura, Franz Grundheber, Simon Estes, Matti Salminnen, René Pape, Kurt Moll, Torsten Kerl, Gerhard Siegel, Catherine Foster, Jennifer Wilson, Ricarda Merbeth (Role debut Brünnhilde, Deutsche Oper)  a.o.

 Teaching and more

 Jasmin Solfaghari is giving masterclasses and is holding lectures in Italy, Brasil, Israel, Germany, USA and China.

 2012-2016 Teaching assignment at Hochschule für Musik Dresden.

2006-2011 Professor at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig (interimistic).



Saturday February 9, 2019

"But of course, the real villain is Wagner! - or, Wagner in the novels of E.M. Forster"

Saturday January 19th, 2019 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

JCC-SF 3200 California Street

San Francisco, CA

2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

The Wagner Society of Northern California is pleased to welcome scholar Claudia Stevens:

"But of course, the real villain is Wagner! - or, Wagner in the novels of E.M. Forster"

British and American authors of the nineteenth century, frustrated and annoyed by the perceived dullness, restraint and hypocrisy of their own cultures, were drawn to fanciful, passionate and rebellious elements in German literature and music. The young E. M. Forster carried this tradition into the early twentieth century, embracing German Romanticism literally with shouts of joy.  Inspired by Schumann's fantastical musical and literary synaesthesia, and most particularly by Wagner's operas with their artistic synthesis and cult of the hero, Forster attempted to create a new kind of literature that would be infused by his own love for, and considerable knowledge of, music.  What happens when the culture war between German passion and English restraint  - epitomized ironically by British Wagner exponent Shaw, vs. Austrian anti-Wagnerian Hanslick - erupts onto the pages of Forster's novels?  That is the subject of Claudia Stevens' presentation. She explores how Forster's early novel, The Longest Journey, not only extolled Wagner's operas but tried to BE one. That experiment was a major flop and an embarrassment.  But in the two novels that followed - A Room with a View and Howards End, he arrived at a new, more successful way of infusing and depicting music: by describing and counterposing his characters' responses to it.  Rather than attempting to encompass and incorporate the whole of Wagner, Forster converted the influence of Wagner into metaphor - a war waged between passion and restraint, imagination and banality.  Claudia goes on to explore what this Forsterian dialectic meant for her creation with composer Allen Shearer of the new opera Howards End, America, which will premiere in San Francisco at Z Space Feb. 22-24, 2019.  Her scholarly research on Classic-Romantic dualism in German music pours into her presentation, which also will include demonstration at the piano.

About Claudia Stevens:

Claudia Stevens, born in Redding, California to Czech and Austrian Jewish parents, has received many honors over her long career. As a pianist, her teachers included Leonard Shure, Martin Canin and Leon Fleischer, and she was awarded various fellowships, including the Alfred Hertz prize from UC, Berkeley. Among career highlights were sponsored solo recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall and the National Gallery, performances of dozens of world premieres, residencies at Tanglewood and several full “Performance Today” broadcasts on NPR. In her second career as a monologue artist and playwright, her work came to wider attention, recognized by a dozen grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the NEA (“New Forms”), tour support from the International Theater Institute, residencies at theaters and art centers from Baltimore to Rangoon and Budapest, and numerous television appearances. A number of her solo plays appear in the avant-garde literary journal Exquisite Corpse. Now based in Oakland, Claudia’s third career is as the librettist of seven chamber operas (an eighth is in progress) in collaboration with distinguished Bay Area composer Allen Shearer. All have been produced. Their one-act opera The Dawn Makers premiered at Herbst Theater in 2009 and was a finalist in the Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. Their internationally acclaimed 2015 chamber opera Middlemarch in Spring, based George Eliot's Middlemarch, was selected a top ten opera of the year by the SF Chronicle and has had two subsequent East Coast productions. Their newest full-length opera, Howards End, America, a production by San Francisco’s Earplay, will premiere at Z Space Feb. 22-24, 2019, featuring an all-star cast. Also a scholar, her writings on nineteenth and twentieth century music are published in Musical Quarterly and Perspectives of New Music. More recent articles about adapting of the novel for the opera stage appear in journals including George Eliot/George Henry Lewes Studies (about her libretto on Middlemarch) and Polish Journal of English Studies, in association with the International E.M. Forster Society (about adapting Howards End).  Claudia holds degrees in music from Vassar College (summa cum laude), UC, Berkeley, and the DMA from Boston University. Previously an Adjunct Associate Professor of Piano at the College of William & Mary and presently a Visiting Scholar there, she has been a guest performer and lecturer at over two hundred colleges and universities

JCC-SF - 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

3200 California Street

San Francisco, CA

Free to members, A suggested $10 donation for non-members


Saturday January 19, 2019

Cosima Holiday Champagne Brunch

The Society is delighted to complete our year with the Cosima Birthday Party

Our musical guests are:

Marina Harris, soprano  Marina Harris was a San Francisco Opera Merola Participant and Adler Fellow. Harris is a Wagner Society William O. Cord Grant recipient. In 2015 Harris was a participant and award winning finalist in the 8th International Singing Competition for Wagner Voices, Karlsruhe Germany.

Peter Grunberg, piano  The Australian-born musician Peter Grunberg moved to California in the early 1990’s to take up the position of Head of Music Staff at the San Francisco Opera.  Since then, he has collaborated frequently with the San Francisco Symphony, where he has been conductor, pianist, and recently also pre-concert lecturer.

Marina Harris and Peter Grunberg will perform a program of Wagner, Strauss and Liszt

Our event begins with a champagne welcome and then our recital program of selections from Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt

Following the recital we will enjoy a brunch served with select red wine and more champagne

Meals are served with a Salad of Baby Arugula with Feta Cheese, Roasted Peppers, Red Onions and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

Choice of two gourmet entrees:

A) Mary's Natural ChIcken Breast with Wild Mushrooms, Fingerling Potatoes, Baby Kale, Jus & Roasted Garlic Aioli


B) Roasted Eggplant filled with Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Chick Peas topped with Cashew Cream, accompanied by Saffron Rice Pilaf (Vegan and Gluten Free)

The meal is completed with a dessert of Chocolate Trilogy and served with Coffee or Tea

Price per person is $100 (open seating)


Attire: Festive/Holiday Attire or Wagner themed costume



Sunday December 9, 2018

Wagner's theories of "Gesamtkunstwerk" vs. his own practices

Professor Thomas Grey, Stanford University– Wagner's theories of "Gesamtkunstwerk" vs. his own practices Professor Grey will speak about Wagner’s concept of the total work of art as it relates to theatricality and movement. Grey will emphasize the Tannhäuser experiment of including ballet within the opera and modern theatrical  trends in "choreographic" staging. The discussion will give examples of such staging from the Tannhäuser Bacchanale, Ride of the Valkyries, the dancing in Meistersinger Act 3, and the Flower Maidens in Parisfal.

We meet at the JCC-SF at 3200 California Street (at Presidio) San Francisco, CA

Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m/

Thomas Grey is a Professor of Musicology and by courtesy, German Studies at Stanford University.

His special fields of study are: Wagner, 19th-century opera, history of musical aesthetics and criticism, Romantic music and visual culture. Professor Greys Publications include Wagner’s Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts, 1995. Editor and co-author of Richard Wagner: The Flying Dutchman, 2000, and Cambridge Companion to Wagner, forthcoming. Articles and reviews in JAMS, 19th Century Music, Music Library Association Notes, Current Musicology, Opera Quarterly, Cambridge Opera Journal, Beethoven Forum, Wagner, 19th-Century Studies; Analyzing Opera, 1989; Music Theory in the Age of Romanticism, 1996; The Arts Entwined (2000); Music and German Identity, 2001; The Don Giovanni Moment (2005); International Dictionary of Opera, Revised New Grove Dictionary, and ENO Opera Handbooks. Chapters contributed to The Wagner Compendium, 1992; The Mendelssohn Companion, 2001; Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera, 2003; Cambridge History of 19th Century Music; New History Of German Literature; and Cambridge Opera Handbooks: Tristan und Isolde, forthcoming. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Musicological Society (1999-2001). Grey is on the editorial/advisory boards of the Cambridge Opera Journal, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Wagner Spectrum.

Programs are free to members and for guests a donation of $10 is recommended


Saturday November 17, 2018

Isolde's Dream - A Biography of Mathilde Wesendonck

This biography of Mathilde Wesendonck is the untold and fascinating story of this woman's inspiring influence on the major works of Richard Wagner, based on facts related in their correspondence and other authentic documents. Under the influence of her aura, Wagner composed Tristan and Isolde, Rhinegold, The Walkyrie, the first two acts of Siegfried, The Meistersinger, the outline for Parsifal, and the music for the Wesendonck Lieder on Mathilde's poems.

Join us in welcoming Judith Cabaud, who will discuss the extensive research she conducted on the important and illusive muse of Richard Wagner - Mathilde Wesendonck.
French-based JUDITH CABAUD, was born in Brooklyn, New York, received her BA (Phi Beta Kappa) from New York University. Then, after studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and in Clermont-Ferrand where she obtained her licence es lettres, she settled in France. For many years, she worked as a teacher, a writer, a journalist, and a music critic at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany.
3200 California Street (at Presidio)
San Francisco, CA
Free to Members; Non-Members $10 suggested donation


Saturday October 13, 2018

Bernstein at 100 - Lenny's Lifelong Obsession with Tristan und Isolde

Saturday September 22, 2018

Centennial Celebration of Birgit NIlsson and Astrid Varnay

Join the Society in celebrating two Golden Age Godesses of the Wagnerian repertory. We will screen two documentary films and get a closer look at their careers.

We will screen "Bayreuth Primadonnas" - a television interview with Astrid Varnay, Birgit Nilsson and Martha Mödl and also "Never before - The Life and first New York career of Astrid Varnay"

Program is free to WSNC Members, non-members $10.00 suggested donation

JCC-SF - 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 

Saturday July 21, 2018

Ring Forum - Ring Cycle #3


Featured Speakers:

Speight Jenkins

Dr. John Mastrogiovanni

Jonathan Khuner



Speight Jenkins

Title: “Creating A Ring”

During his tenure at Seattle Opera, Speight Jenkins put together “from scratch” two productions of Wagner’s Ring.  For the first of these two Seattle Rings, Jenkins assembled the remarkable team of François Rochaix and Robert Israel. Together they concocted a visually and theatrically daring interpretation informed by the more recent, director-centered approach that had revolutionized Bayreuth (and the opera world) in 1976. The Rochaix/Israel Die Walküre debuted in 1985 and full Ring cycles followed. And ever since it premiered in 2001, Jenkins’ second Seattle Ring production, directed by Stephen Wadsworth and designed by Thomas Lynch, the late Martin Pakledinaz and Peter Kaczorowski, was the jewel in the crown for Seattle Opera’s international artistic reputation. In his talk, Speight Jenkins will discuss the process artistic development, planning and casting such a monumental work and bringing it to the stage.

Dr. John Mastrogiovanni

Title: Brünnhilde “The Liberator Liberated”

Dr. John Mastrogiovanni will explore the transformation Brünnhilde appears to undergo from the Second Act of Walküre to the conclusion of Götterdämmerung. Yet, is this a transformation? Or is this an unveiling of her true self? These questions and more will be explored during Mastrogiovanni's talk.


Jonathan Khuner

Title: "Wagner’s Mistakes"

There are places in the Ring where it turns out you have to ignore Wagner’s musical instructions and indications. So when putting on a performance, you do what you have to do, but should you feel guilty? Obviously, stage directors, far from apologizing, revel in their complete disobedience to the printed score and libretto.



PRICING: General Admission $65.00     Wagner Society Members $55.00   San Francisco Opera Bravo Club Members $25.00





June 30, 2017 Ring Cycle #3 Speaker Bios:

Speight Jenkins is recognized nationally as a leading authority on opera and one of the most influential and accomplished general directors in the United States. He was educated at the University of Texas (B.A., 1957) and Columbia University (Law, 1961). After working as an editor for Opera News (1967-73) and as music critic for the New York Post (1973-81), from 1981 to 1983, he was host for the Live From the Met broadcasts on public television. He has written reviews and articles for a number of publications. He was appointed general director of the Seattle Opera in 1983 and, with productions of Wagner's Ring cycle in 1986, 1987, and 1991, and ventures such as Prokofiev's War and Peace and Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites in 1990, he injected new life into the company's artistic standing and financial fortunes.

Jenkins' knowledge of opera is reflected in the Seattle Opera's many innovative productions, substantial publications, and comprehensive education programs and services. He has strengthened and extended Seattle Opera's reputation as a "Wagner center" by producing all 10 of Wagner's major operas - including two very different Ring productions. In 2006, Jenkins held Seattle Opera's first International Wagner Competition, developed to discover and promote outstanding young singers who show promise of major careers in Wagner operas. Because of his passion for the arts and energetic leadership style, the Seattle Times named Jenkins one of the 150 most influential people who have shaped the character of Seattle and King County, ArtsFund presented him with its Outstanding Achievement in the Arts award, and Opera News cited Jenkins as one of the 25 "most powerful" names in opera in America.


Dr. John Mastrogiovanni was first introduced to Wagner’s Ring at the age of five by his father. By the age of nine, he was opening Wagner’s piano scores and outlining all the leitmotifs with their numerous variations. In 1995, Dr. Mastrogiovanni joined the Wagner Society of Southern California and in 2010, he became the Chairman. He lectures on Wagner in different venues, including societies, clubs, and colleges. Mastrogiovanni wrote the book “Parsifal: The Will and Redemption” in which he utilizes Wagner’s own concepts from his letters and prose works to help define the meaning of this amazing Sacred Stage Drama. As a recent lecturer in Bayreuth describe the book “If you love Wagner’s Ring and feel ready to enter his last opera Parsifal – this is the book to accompany you.” Mastrogiovanni is also an ordained minister and has been in full-time ministry for over 30 years, traveling educating pastors and leaders throughout the United States, Great Britain and Europe.


Jonathan Khuner

Conductor Jonathan Khuner resides in Berkeley, but works at the major opera companies across the USA. He has been Musical Director of (Berkeley) West Edge Opera in the East Bay since 1985, and was its artistic director between 1994 and 2009. He has led over sixty-five productions there, most recently Hamlet in 2017. Khuner served as Assistant Conductor and prompter for San Francisco Opera (from 1981 to 2016), the Metropolitan Opera (since 1997), and the Lyric Opera of Chicago (since 1995). In 1996 he was also the prompter for the Ring Cycle at the Bayreuther Festspiele. In the Wagner bicentennial year 2013, he conducted a mini-Ring-Cycle for Minnesota Concert Opera, and also the nation of Albania’s first ever Wagner production - Tannhäuser, at their National Opera in Tirana. Besides appearing frequently as guest conductor with various California opera companies, Khuner also initiated an opera workshop performance course for the University of California at Berkeley (2001 – 2004). More recently he has been a frequent speaker for the San Francisco Opera's outreach programs. He has given the pre-curtain talks on The Capulets and the Montagues and Ballo in Maschera. For the San Francisco Opera Guild Chapters he gave preview lectures for Turandot in 2017.


Production photo courtesy of San Francisco Opera    Cory Weaver, Photographer

Saturday June 30, 2018

Rhine Cruise on the San Francisco Bay

Happy to say we are SOLD OUT!  Call for wait list information (925) 285-3690


We are proud to offer a special event for the 2018 Ring Festival. Attendees will enjoy a luncheon cruise on the beautiful California Hornblower around the San Francisco Bay and to the Gold(en Gate Bridge)

Champagne welcome at boarding time and and a wonderful 3 course luncheon with wine as we cruise past ATT Park, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, Angel Island,  Golden Gate Bridge and cruising along the San Francisco shoreline.

Space is limited, reserve early.

Call for availability - (925)285-3690

Monday June 25, 2018

Ring Forum - Ring Cycle #2

PROGRAM UPDATE: It is with regret that we must announce that Heath Lees is unable to present his Ring Talks due to a serious concerns which requires him to remain in Australia. The Following is our replacement series of speakers:

"The First Ring: Art, Ideology, and Politics at Bayreuth, 1876." with David Clay Large
In his talk, Large will discuss about the ideological, aesthetic and political issues surrounding the first full Ring performance at Bayreuth in 1876.

"The Ring" on Stage: Where Are We Today in the Debate about Wagner productions? with William Berger
From the first realization of the Ring in 1876 down to the present day, there has been a great debate about the intentions and relative merits (or offenses) about the physical production. In fact, there has been no single consensus about what we should see on the stage, let alone why we see what we do see. Where is this issue in 2018? Can we get beyond the stalemate of "traditional" vs. "avant-garde"? Do those terms even mean anything anymore? We'll look at how things became the way they did in order to have a better sense of (1) what we are seeing this year and (2) what we want, need, and say with various means of staging the Ring.

Wagner’s non-thematic moments with Jonathan Khuner
In the Ring there are special places where a very fitting, unique musical idea appears, seemingly not part of the web of leitmotives at all. Wagner was proud to have every corner of his scores related to every other (and to the dramatic process of the piece, obviously) by means of thematic connections, but there are a few places where this imperative seems to have been abandoned. How? Why?


Forum Pricing: General Admission $65.00  Wagner Society Members $55.00   San Francisco Opera Bravo Club Members $25.00

Forum Price includes a Gourmet Box Lunch








Saturday June 23, 2018

Ring Forum - Ring Cycle #1

Featured Speakers:

Peter Bassett 

Desirée Mays 

Simon Williams


Peter Bassett, a writer, speaker and broadcaster on opera, particularly the works of Richard Wagner

Title: Wagner's Theatres

Wagner's Theatres, tracing the evolution of Wagner’s ideas from the 1840s and '50s to his Bayreuth adventure. For most of his adult life Wagner wanted to perform the Ring in a temporary theatre inspired by the models of ancient Greek amphitheaters and medieval makeshift stages. He even considered a floating stage on Lake Lucerne and a temporary one in a field outside Zurich. The Bayreuth theatre was deliberately intended as a 'temporary' one; Wagner was adamant about this, and resisted Ludwig's efforts to build a monumental theatre in Munich. This tells us much about the style of production Wagner had in mind. In his talk, Bassett will show photos of fascinating models for temporary 'Greek' and 'Roman' style structures inside an exhibition building, made by Gottfried Semper for Wagner in the 1860s.

Desirée Mays, Master of Arts degree in the Humanities from the University of Utah

Title: Das Ende: The Endings of The Ring

In her talk, Desirée Mays will discuss the six endings Wagner considered for Gotterdämmerung, also inter-comparing the endings of the four Ring operas. These various endings will be further described with musical examples and references to "Das Ende" in the texts of Wotan and other leading characters.

Simon WilliamsProfessor in the Department of Theater and Dance at University of California Santa Barbara

Title: The 'Deep State' of The Ring

Professor Simon Williams will be exploring the deep currents of tragedy in the entire Ring cycle, the conflict between the past and the present and the imminence of death. Topics within this talk will include Erda and the problems of story-telling.

A Panel Discussion follows the talks.

Gourmet Box Lunch is included in registration fee

Forum Prices: General Admission $65.00     Wagner Society Members $55.00    San Francisco Opera Bravo Club Members $25.00


Ring Cycle #1 Speaker Bios:

Peter Bassett is a writer, speaker and broadcaster on opera, particularly the works of Richard Wagner. He was closely involved with both the 1998 and 2004 South Australian productions of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Adelaide. He was also involved with the 2001 Australian premiere of Parsifal, the 2006 West Australian Opera's Tristan und Isolde 2009 State Opera of South Australia's Der fliegende Holländer. Peter also regularly writes program notes for Australian and New Zealand orchestras and opera companies.

A lawyer and diplomat by training, Peter served for twenty years in the Australian Diplomatic Service in embassies in East and West Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and was Deputy Legal Adviser in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra until 1992. He was, for a further decade, chief of staff to two Governors of South Australia.

Bassett is currently writing a thesis about the establishment of a Wagner performing tradition in Adelaide between the years of 1995-2005. During the Melbourne Ring Festival, Peter gave a talk on the Buddhist and Hindu influences in Wagner's stage works. A similar talk was presented during the San Francisco Opera 2011 Ring Festival.

Desirée Mays A resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Desirée Mays was born in Ireland, and educated in London, Desirée came to the States and gradually became immersed in the world of opera as a speaker, storyteller, professor, radio interviewer, reviewer and writer.

Mays holds a Master of Arts degree in the Humanities from the University of Utah where she taught a course, “What Is Opera,” both there and at the University of New Mexico. Desirée hosted two radio shows: “Our Arts” in Salt Lake City where she co-produced the award-winning series “Life is a Creative Process.” She also produced and interviewed arts personalities on “CenterStage” for KSFR 101.1 in Santa Fe.

Summing up her aesthetic motto as "Art Forms through Awareness", Desirée has written extensively on opera: program notes for opera companies, promotional and review pieces for journals, magazines and newspapers. She enjoys interviewing singers, directors and conductors before live audiences, on the radio or for publication, and she currently produces “Yoga Moments” for KSFR. On occasion, she takes groups of people world-wide in search of that perfect opera.

Simon Williams is Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance at University of Califorinia Santa Barbara. He has taught at universities on four continents, including the University of Regina, of Alberta, Cornell University and, since 1984, UCSB. He has published widely in the fields of European continental theatre, the history of acting, Shakespearean performance, and operatic history. His major publications include German Actors of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Greenwood, 1985), Shakespeare on the German Stage, 1586-1914 (Cambridge, 1990), Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre (Greenwood, 1994), and Richard Wagner and the Romantic Hero (Cambridge, 2004). He has contributed numerous articles in his fields of specialty in edited volumes and leading periodicals. He is also an active director and reviewer of opera. His current projects include co-editing A History of the German Theatre for Cambridge University Press and studies of Shakespeare in the eighteenth century and European opera in the nineteenth century.


Production photo courtesy of the San Francisco Opera    Cory Weaver, photographer



Saturday June 16, 2018

Concert - Richard Wagner's 205th Birthday

Join the Society for a Concert celebrating the 205th Birthday of Richard Wagner - (see program below)

St. Mark's Lutheran Church

1111 O'Farrell Street

San Francisco, CA

Our guests for this event are Ann Moss, soprano; Justin Ouellet, viola and Steven Bailey, piano. At this time the program is being fine tuned, but with these three artists there will be a unique program and exciting music making. The artists will also have CDs of their music available after the performance. As soon as we know the program, we will update this page.

After the concert we will celebrate with a festive champagne and dessert reception in the Community Hall.

This is a free event*, invite your friends to attend. The Society will be sending out an electronic invitation to members, feel free to share it.


*optional free-will donations will be accepted to defray the costs of the refreshments





Richard Wagner — Parsifal Overture transcribed for solo piano by Albert Heintz

Steven Bailey, piano


R. Wagner — Romanze from “In das album Der Fürstin Metternich” WWV 94 (1861) arranged for cello and piano by D. Popper, transcribed for viola by Philip Moss

Justin Ouellet, viola; Steven Bailey, Piano


Hugo Wolf - Im Frühling from Mörike Lieder

Arnold Schoenberg - Schenk mir deinen goldenen Kamm Op. 2 No. 2

Ann Moss, soprano; Steven Bailey, piano


Joseph Marx - Durch Einsamkeiten for soprano, viola and piano

Ann Moss, soprano; Justin Ouellet, viola; Steven Bailey, piano


R. Wagner — Spinning Chorus from Flying Dutchman arranged for solo piano by Franz Liszt

Steven Bailey, piano




R. Wagner — two selections from Faust Lieder WWV15 Op. 15

1. Gretchen am Spinnrade

2. Melodram "Ach neige, du Schmerzenreiche"

Ann Moss, soprano; Steven Bailey, piano


R. Wagner — arrangements for viola and piano

O du mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser Act III

Träume from Wesendonck Lieder

Justin Ouellet, viola; Steven Bailey, Piano


R. Wagner — Stimme des Waldvogels from Siegfried Act II arranged for soprano, viola and piano by Moss/Bailey/Ouellet

Ann Moss, soprano; Justin Ouellet, viola; Steven Bailey, piano


R. Wagner — Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde arranged for solo piano by Franz Liszt
Steven Bailey, piano


Sunday May 27, 2018

Conducting Wagner

The Society is happy to welcome back Scott Foglesong to our lecture series.

In his talk Scott Foglesong will focus on those intrepid folks down there in the orchestra pit—the instrumentalists and the conductor. Wagner himself was one of the most influential figures in the history of conducting, and his successors have carried on not only his legacy but have brought new insights to Wagner’s fascinating use of the orchestra. Foglesong will cover such legendary figures as Hermann Levi, Felix Mottl, Hans Richter, and Wagner himself, then move on to those conductors who have left us recordings—including such luminaries as Arthur Nikisch, Alfred Hertz, Hans Knappertsbusch, Pierre Monteux, and Arturo Toscanini. More modern figures will be included as well—Pierre Boulez, Sir Georg Solti, and Leonard Bernstein.

Scott Foglesong is a pianist, musician, teacher, writer, cat-lover, music history devotée, occasional computer geek and sometime programmer. He has been on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1978; nowadays he serves as a department chair in addition to enjoying the honor of educating some of today's most promising young musicians. In 2008 he was named recipient of the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for excellence in teaching. He has taught Music 27 (Introduction to Music) for the Fall Freshman program at UC Berkeley since 1991, is associated with the San Francisco Symphony, both as a Contributing Writer and as an "Inside Music" lecturer for the Symphony's weekly subscription concerts, and is Program Annotator for the California Symphony, after formerly serving in the same capacity for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, New Hampshire Music Festival, and Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. Professor Foglesong was formally educated at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the San Francisco Conservatory, but his informal education continues everywhere, without cease.

Lecture is free to members and for visitors we suggest a $10.00 contribution to the Society


Saturday April 7, 2018

Flagstadt and Melchior

Many consider Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior to be the greatest Wagnerian duo ever. In his talk, Jeff McMillan will recount the careers of these two great singers and will play many examples of their incomparable artistry. A fuller description of Jeff's talk is forthcoming.

Jeff McMillan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Wagner Society and currently works as the Senior Communications Manager for San Francisco Opera. McMillan has also worked for American Bach Soloists and as an Archivist for the Metropolitan Opera. McMillan is the Editor of the Wagner Society publication Leitmotive and has served as Editor for the Journal of Jazz Studies.

Program is free to members, Visitors a suggested donation of $10.00

Saturday March 17, 2018

Wagner's Ring in Popular Culture


The Society is delighted to welcome back Professor Adrian Daub who will give a talk entitled “Wagner's Ring in Popular Culture.”
We are awaiting a fuller description of this talk.
Daub is a Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at Stanford University as well as Director, Program in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Director, Program in German Studies
Director, Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities


Saturday February 3, 2018

Kay Stern, Concert Master of the San Francisco Opera

Kay Stern will talk about her life in music and her career with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The Wagner Society invites artists as speakers in order to get "up close and personal" stories about the talented individuals who enrich our lives.

Kay Stern is the Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, a position she has held since 1994. Ms. Stern served as assistant to Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music Festival, assistant to the Juilliard Quartet at the Juilliard School and held faculty positions at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy of the West. She has taught and coached at various music festivals around the world and been in residence at Wellesley College and San Diego State University.
Kay attended the Julliard School as a student of Dorothy DeLay. While at Julliard, she received full scholarships for her Bachelor, Master's and Doctoral degree programs. She also studied with Michael Davis at Ohio State University. Her concerto and chamber music recordings can be heard on Phillips, Nonesuch, Innova, MusicMasters, Koch International, Gramavision and Albany Records

​January 27, 2018 1:00 p.m.  JCC-SF 3200 California Street San Francisco, CA  (California @ Presidio)
​Program is free to members of the Society. Visitors welcome with a $10.00 suggested donation


Saturday January 27, 2018

Cosima Holiday Champagne Brunch


The finale to the Wagner Society's year is the annual Cosima Wagner Holiday Celebration. This unique, elegant event is the highlight of the Wagner Society year. We toast Richard and Cosima with champagne, enjoy a recital and celebrate the Wagner Society and its members. This year we are delighted to announce that our musical guests will once again be mezzo-soprano Kindra Sharich and the Alexander String Quartet.  Those who attended last years' celebration raved about the ravishing performance of the Wesendonck Lieder!  This years' celebration will feature a beautiful string quartet transcription of Gustav Mahler's Rückert Lieder, which will soon be released on CD. The music will be followed by a beautiful brunch service with plenty of wine and champage to keep the festivities bubbly. Drawing for door prizes will conclude the festivities.

Invitations will be sent out in November, but please mark your calendars now so that you don't double book this date. RESERVATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY NOVEMBER 29th!

Brunch Menu:

Salad of Baby Spinach and Romaine with Candied Walnuts, Sliced Pears and Goat Cheese with Sherry Vinaigrette

Choice of Entree (Please denote your entree choice in the section OTHER INFORMATION when ordering on-line)

A: Dill Crusted Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard Buerre Blanc, Horesradish Mashed Potatoes and Julienne Vegetables

B. Horeseradish Crusted Filet of Beef with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and Braised Chard

C. Roasted Eggplant filled with Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Chickpeas topped with Cashew Cream, Saffron Rice Pilaf (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Dessert is Chocolate Trilogy served with Coffee or Tea

Meal includes premium red wine and champagne with your meal

Price is $100 per person


Sunday December 10, 2017

Great Wagner Sopranos of the Early Recording Era - Lisa Hirsch

November 18th 2017 - 1:00 p.m.

3200 California Street
San Francisco, CA
UPDATE: Our scheduled speaker, Thomas Grey had to withdraw due to a serious family emergency. He will be rescheduled for Fall 2018.
NEW PROGRAM: Great Female Wagnerians of the Early Recording Era
Following up on several talks about the early recording era, WSNC Member Lisa Hirsch will discuss the great Female Wagnerians of this Era.  Many may know of the more famous early singers for example Kirsten Flagstad and Rosa Ponselle, but there were many less well known singers who made recordings in the US and abroad. In her talk Lisa Hirsch will go back in time and demonstrate for us the wonderful world of Wagner in the early 20th Century. There will be a large number of musical examples for us to enjoy.
Lisa Hirsch has previously spokent to the Society on the topic of Wagner Singers. Lisa Hirsch is a technical writer by profession. She studied music at Brandeis and Stony Brook, and blogs about classical music and opera at Iron Tongue of Midnight
Members are free. Guests are welcome, a $10 donation is suggested


Saturday November 18, 2017

Music in the Waters - Professor David Clay Large

October 14, 2017  1:00 p.m.
3200 California Street
San Francisco, CA
Music in the Waters
Composers and Conductors at the Grand Spas of Central Europe, 1810-1914
At the height of their influence in the 19 th century, the grand spa-towns of Central Europe – gilded refuges such as Baden-Baden, Bad Ischl, Marienbad, and Baden-bei- Wien – were primary
go-to places not only for medical care but also important centers of high culture, especially music. The rigorous cure ritual was lightened by regular musical entertainment of high quality,
and leading composers and conductors of the day used frequent visits to the grand spas to work as well as to heal. Focusing on six major figures of the era – Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner,
Berlioz, Brahms, and Mahler – the talk will examine the role that these musicians played in the life of the spas, and the meaning that the spa experience had in their artistic work. This lecture
will thus explore a new corner of the old inquiry into the relationship between place and creative production.
Professor David Clay Large

David Clay Large is currently a professor at the Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies, U.C. Berkeley.  Previously he has taught at Berkeley, Smith College, Montana State University, and Yale University, where he was also Dean of Pierson College.

A specialist on the history of Modern Europe, especially Germany and Austria, Large has published widely in that field.  Among his major book publications are The Politics of Law and Order: A History of the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr (1980); Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics (1984); Contending with Hitler: Varieties of German Resistance in the Third Reich (1992); Between Two Fires: Europe’s Path in the 1930s(1993); Germans to the Front: West German Rearmament in the Adenauer Era (1996); Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road to the Third Reich (1997); Berlin (2000); And the World Closed Its Doors: One Family’s Abandonment to the Holocaust (2003); Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936 (2007); and Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror and Triumph at the Olympic Games (2012).  Presently Large is completing a cultural and social history of the major Central European spa-towns, to be published in 2015.

Over the course of his forty-year career as a teacher and scholar, Large has been awarded major fellowships from many institutions, including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Morse Faculty Fund of Yale University, and the German Marshal Fund.


Members are free. Guests are welcome - a $10 donation is suggested


Saturday October 14, 2017

Der fliegende Hollander

September 16, 2017
1:00 p.m.
3200 California Street (@ Presidio)
San Francisco, CA
The production team for Opera San José is unable to be with us, as an alternative, we will screen a DVD of Der fliegende Hollander.
Members are free; Guests are always welcome
Liebig Image courtesy of Trish Benedict

Saturday September 16, 2017

Member's Meeting

Every so often, the Wagner Society offers a "Member's Meeting". In this meeting we turn the podium over to members who share with the group their own personal Wagner experiences.

In addition, we will be having a "Haus Wahnfried Garage Sale". Many of us have large collections of Wagnerian items, books, memorabilia, CDs, audio DVD and video recordings. Lots of people are scaling back, downsizing and this meeting provides an opportunity to find new homes for unwanted items. We ask everyone to look around and see if they have any items they would like to donate to the Society and in turn the Society will offer them for sale to the membership. Presently the Society also has a collection of items from the estates of members who are no longer with us. Whether you are downsizing or looking for additional items, it is always a lot of fun to see what turns up on the tables. All donations will be acknowledged.

Should you wish to take the podium and share with the members, please contact the Society and we will add your name to the list of members who wish to share. To sign up to share send an e-mail to or phone (415)421-4412 and leave a message. Podium time is limited to 10 minutes.

Proceeds from the sale of items will benefit the Program Fund and the William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

1:00 p.m. Saturday July 15, 2017


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA

Saturday July 15, 2017

Heroes - Then and Now

1:00 p.m. June 17, 2017 Desiree Mays – Heroes Then and Now "Take a good look at Wotan," Wagner tells us, "He is us!" What is a hero? Who are our heroes? Who are the heroes of the Ring, and how did they change over the course of composition? What is the meaning of Wagner's Free Hero? This talk discusses heroes from tragic to romantic, their mission, their meaning, and their relevance both in the Ring cycle and to us today. Mays holds a Master of Arts degree in the Humanities from the University of Utah where she taught a course, “What Is Opera,” and taught the same course at the University of New Mexico.  Desirée has hosted two radio shows: “Our Arts” in Salt Lake City where she co-produced the award-winning series “Life is a Creative Process.” 

The Society is delighted to have Desiree Mays back for what will be an interesting and informative presentation. This program is free for members and for non-members we suggest a $10 donation per person.

JCC-San Franciso

3200 California Street at Presidio

San Francisco, CA 94118


Saturday June 17, 2017

Wagner Society of Northern California - All Wagner Concert

The Wagner Society of Northern California
A Special Concert Celebration for the  204th Birthday Anniversary of Richard Wagner
Registration fee $35.00 - on-line ordering llink is at the  BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
The Society has engaged pianists Steven Bailey and William Wellborn who will perform a concert of Wagner and Wagner transcriptions for piano. 

Wagner-Liszt Spinning Chorus from the Flying Dutchman

Wagner-Liszt Senta's Ballad from The Flying Dutchman

Wagner-Liszt Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin

Wagner-Liszt/Moszkowski/Bailey Tannhäuser Overture "Paris" version

Wagner-Liszt - Isolde's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Wagner: Sonata in B-Flat Major (1831) III - Menuetto

Liszt: RW-Venezia (1883)

Liszt: La lugubre Gondola I (1882)

Liszt: Am Grabe Richard Wagners (1883)

Faure/Messager: Souvenirs de Bayreuth for piano, four hands
A festive reception will follow the concert in the St. Mark's Lutheran Church Community Hall on the lower level, immediately after the concert.
Mark your calendar for:
MAY 28TH 2017
4:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
doors open 3:30 - open seating

Sunday May 28, 2017

Janet Popesco Archibald, Oboe and English Horn, San Francisco Opera Orchestra

April 1, 2017 1:00 p.m. JCC-SF at 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA

Janet Popesco Archibald, Oboe and English Horn, San Francisco Opera – More Tales from the Pit  The Society is delighted to welcome another member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra to our series of lectures. What would Tristan und Isolde be without the haunting English Horn solo? Our guest Janet Pospeco Archibald has played this as a musician for San Francisco Opera Orchestra. A versatile artist, Archibald is also a member of the Lowell Trio with Emil Miland and Margaret Fondbertasse, her dear colleagues since conservatory days. Archibald has also served on the faculty of San Francisco State University and UC Santa Cruz. This talk promises some music making and we anticipate that “friends” will join Janet in her presentation to the Society. Expect an exciting musical afternoon with the Society. Members are free, Guests $10 requested donation



Saturday April 1, 2017

San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock

The Wagner Society Welcomes Matthew Shilvock, General Director of the San Francisco Opera

JCC-SF  -  3200 California Street, San Francicso, CA 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

Matthew Shilvock brings a passion for opera and a wealth of experience to the post of General Director of San Francisco. He began his career with the arts service organization Opera America; in 2003, he joined Houston Grand Opera as liaison to Gockley, then Houston’s general director. In San Francisco, Shilvock served as general director’s associate, director of new initiatives and assistant general director before his 2005 elevation to associate general director. But his first experience was as a San Francisco Opera audience member — in 2002, he attended a performance of Messiaen’s “St. Francois d’Assise” and was “awestruck” by the beauty of the War Memorial Opera House.

His work has since given him an insider’s knowledge of the organization’s workings. Shilvock has been involved in more than 100 S.F. Opera productions during the last decade. Collaborating with singers, staff, directors and production teams, he said, has given him an understanding of “all the moving parts” essential to bringing opera to the stage.

Matthew Shilvock was born in Kidderminster, England. He studied music performance and history, reading music at Christ Church, Oxford University. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a specialization in nonprofit administration. Shilvock resides in Marin County with his wife Kate and their two children.

Saturday March 18, 2017

Speight Jenkins, General Director Emeritus, Seattle Opera

February 4, 2017 - 1:00 p.m.

The Wagner Society is excited to welcome Speight Jenkins to our meeting on February 4th. Speight Jenkins served as General Director of Seattle Opera for over 30 years and has been a guest speaker for the Society on numerous occasions.  Presently retired, but still active in opera education, adjudicating vocal competitions and serving as a “talent scout”, Jenkins is always a well spring of information and insight about all things Wagnerian and operatic. Presently teaching a course on Wagner at Stanford Continuing Education, the Society is delighted that Jenkins has made time in his busy schedule for the Wagner Society.

Meeting will take place at:

JCC-SF (2nd Floor Gallanter Hall)
3200 California Street
San Francisco, CA

WSNC Members are free, guests $10 donation is requested

Saturday February 4, 2017

A Memory in which Spring can be Recognized: Wagner’s Die Meistersinger

A Memory in which Spring can be Recognized:  Wagner’s Die Meistersinger
Saturday January 7th at 1:00 p.m
3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA
In one hour, Larry Oppenheim will present a guided tour of Richard Wagner’s comic masterpiece, Die Meistersinger. Larry will combine his commentary with extensive video excerpts from the wonderful Glyndebourne production directed by David McVicar. This production features Gerald Finley as Hans Sachs, Marco Jentzsch as Walther von Stolzing, and Johannes Martin Kränzle as Sixtus Beckmesser. Finley creates a Sachs who is younger than most, but wise and deeply human. And Kränlze’s Beckmesser simply exudes comic genius. The lecture will trace the musical leitmotifs and philosophical ideas which are developed throughout the opera.
Our speaker is Larry Oppenheim, the lecturer for the San Francisco Library's popular "Opera for the People" Series. In the series Larry’s goal is to make opera more enjoyable and accessible to everyone – including those who may have never gone to an opera. In addition to being a member of the Wagner Society of Northern California, Oppenheim is the President of the Kensington Symphony (East Bay) and the co-principal oboe and a bassoonist. 

Saturday January 7, 2017

2016 Cosima Holiday Brunch Celebration

The Wagner Society is pleased to present the 2016 Cosima Holiday Celebration
This year we start early with an 11:00 champagne welcome and social time
At 12:00 we will be seated for a performance of  Wesendonck Lieder, Richard Wagner. Our musical guests are mezzo soprano Kindra Scharich accompanied by the Alexander String Quartet.
Brunch will follow at approximately 12:45 followed by our drawing for door prizes.
Salad: Baby Spinch and Romaine with Candied Walnuts, Sliced Pears, Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette
Entree Choices (please denote your choice at the bottom of the form when you check out):
Dill Crusted Salmon with Whole Grain ustard Beurre Blanc, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Juliienne Vegetables
Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Coriander Crust, Sweet Potato Risotto, Julienne Vegetables
Roasted Eggplant filled with Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Chick Peas topped iwht Cashew Cream, Saffron Rice (Vegan/Gluten Free)
Dessert: Chocolate Trilogy with Coffee and Tea
The meal includes select red and white wine
$100 per person - open seating         to register move down the page click where it says:  "Click Here to Purchase Tickets to this Event"                                
Payment and meal choices due by Wednesday November 30th
Holiday/festive attire, Wagner themed costumes are also welcome!
Invitation is also below should you wish to download and enroll by mail
For more information please contact Diane Parker (415)377-3630 or by email

Sunday December 11, 2016

Professor Derek Katz, Ph.D. University of California Santa Barbara Department of Music

More details will follow
3200 California Street @ Presidio (2nd Floor Gallanter Hall)
San Francisco, CA 
1:00 p.m.

Saturday November 12, 2016

John Mastrogiovanni "Parsifal"

The Wagner Society is pleased to welcome John Mastrogiovanni, President of the Wagner Society of Southern California, for this expanded program on Parsifal.

Parsifal is Richard Wagner's final musical and philosophical treatise to the world. Since its introduction to opera houses beyond Bayreuth, manyhave shared their insights about what the spiritual and religious meanings were regarding this work. However, Wagner himself knew what he meant when he conceived it and had a definite purpose for the work. In his talk, Dr. John Mastrogiovanni, an educator in theology for more than 30 years, utilizes Wagner's own concepts from his letters and prose works to help define the meaning of this amazing "Sacred Stage Drama".

This program will be in two sessions, which is why the start time is early. We will convene at 10:30 for a 90 minute Part 1 and then adjourn for no-host lunch. Attendees are free to bring lunch, eat in the lower level cafe or another restaurant in the neighborhood. We reconvene at 1:00 for a second 90 minute session followed by questions and discussion.


3200 California Street @ Presidio  (2nd floor Gallanter Hall)

San Francisco, CA


Saturday October 29, 2016

Simon Williams - "The Modernity of Wagner"

The Wagner Society welcomes a favorite speaker, Professor Simon Williams. Much of the scholarly discussion of Richard Wagner as a tragic dramatist focuses on the influence upon him of the great dramatists of the past and in his own time. However Wagner's music drama can also be seen as the first iteration of a tragic vision that was to become central to the drama of the modern world. In this talk, Williams will explore that "modernity" and, in so doing, hopes to argue that Wagner is very much an artist for our own time, even an artist of our time. His talk will be accompanied by several music examples.

1:00 p.m. Saturday September 17, 2016


3200 California Street (2nd Floor Gallanter Hall)

San Francisco, CA

Saturday September 17, 2016

Mirella Hagen, Soprano - Liederabend of Wagnerian Composers

The Wagner Society is excited to present this wonderful Sommer Liederabend in conjunction with Lieder Alive! To Purchase Tickets on this website, navigate to the bottom of this page Our guest is the wonderfully gifted soprano Mirella Hagen, formerly of the Oper Studio Stuttgart. Ms. Hagen sang the roles of the Forestbird and Woglinde in Bayreuth 2015. She has sung many roles at the Stuttgart Opera Studio, Ms. Hagen has also sung in Dortmund, Antwerp, Braunschweig, Regensberg and Komische Oper Berlin. Ms. Hagen has worked closely with Helmut Rilling, performing the works of J.S. Bach world wide. Ms. Hagen will perform with conductor, accompanist Robin Engelen. Robin Engelen has worked with many fine ensembles in Europe and the world, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and Stuttgart Philharmonic, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony (RSB), Dusseldorf Philharmonic, as well as the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Prometheus Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic. The Festivals he has visited include Oregon Bach Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Baden-Baden, Stuttgart, Salzburg, and Bregenz. The program is built around "Wagnerian" composers and includes: Alban Berg Seven Early Songs Claude Debussy Il pleure dans mon coeur Green Spleen Hugo Wolf Die Kleine Nachtzauber Im Früling Die Spröde Singt mein Schatz wie ein Fink Richard Wagner Waldvogel Richard Strauss Mädschenblumen op.22 Benjamin Britten Cabaret Songs The venue is the beautiful Noe Valley Ministries 1021 Sanchez Street San Francisco, CA

For more information contact Diane Parker: or phone (415)377-3630

Purchase tickets by clicking the link below

Friday July 8, 2016

Der fliegende Holländer sails into Livermore

In Fall 2016, the Livermore Valley Opera will present Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer. This is a bold move for this innovative company. Livermore Valley Opera was founded in 1992, and presents fully-staged operas in the spring and fall at the Bankhead Theater in the historic downtown area of Livermore, California.  The theater is located just 45 miles east of San Francisco.

Joining us will be Artistic and Music Director of LVO Alexander Katsman and Production Director Olivia Stapp. Ms. Stapp will discuss the production sets and costumes. Katsman will invite select members of the cast and present excerpts from Holländer.

Olivia Stapp had a major international career as a dramatic soprano and later was the Artistic Director of Festival Opera (Walnut Creek, California) from 1995 to 2001. She currently works as a freelance opera director.

Alexander Katsman is a well known figure in the San Francisco Area. Alumni of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Mr. Katsman received his M.M. from St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory and his B.M. cum laude from Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Since his arrival in the United States, Alexander has been sought after as a conductor and collaborative pianist. He conducted for Opera San Jose, West Bay Opera, Martinez Opera, Bayshore Lyric Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera, Oakland Lyric Opera, Solo Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Opera Academy of California, Peninsula Teen Opera, Diablo Light Opera, Town Hall Theater, and also at CalState University East Bay and Diablo Valley College.  Recently Alexander was rehearsal conductor for Castleton Festival’s Berkeley performances of Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia. Mr. Katsman serves on conducting faculties of Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute and Opera Academy of California. He is also on the coaching staff at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Location: JCC-SF

3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday June 18, 2016

Irene Dalis - A Rememberance

Linda Riebel conducted years of research, interviews and conversations with many people who knew Irene Dalis, the reknown Wagnerian mezzo soprano and opera impressario. In her talk Ms. Riebel will talk about the career of Irene Dalis as a singer and then later in life as the Founder and General Director of Opera San José. Under Dalis' guidance Opera San José became one of the finest mid-sized opera companies in the United States and fostered the careers of hundreds of young artists.

In her vocal career, Irene Dalis sang at the world's leading opera houses:   Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bayreuth Festival, Chicago Lyric Opera, Berlin, Rome, Naples and many others.

Linda Riebel, now retired, was a psychologist and teacher. During her career she has published three books and many journal articles. An avid supporter of Opera San José, her book on Irene Dalis was a labor of love and admiration for this remarkable artist.


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118


Saturday May 7, 2016

Annual Fundraiser Concert at the German Residence

The Society is excited to announce its annual fundraiser for the William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund on April 14th 2016 at 6:00 p.m. 

The event will be held at the beautiful German Residence in San Francisco. Located in Pacific Heights, the German Residence Music Parlor has a sweeping views of the Golden Gate and San Francicso Bay.  .  .  .

The work to be heard was commissioned by the Wagner Society of Northern California through the William O. Cord Grant Fund. This is the first work commissioned by the Wagner Society. Based on the Tannhäuser legend and Wagner's music, composer Liam Wade has created a work for piano trio. Piano transcriptions of Wagner's works are quite common, but transcriptions for chamber ensemble are rare. A stellar group of musicians will be with us: The Lee Trio, an extraordinary chamber ensemble will perform the new Tannhäuser Oeuvrtüre and  we are also joined by soprano Ann Moss, pianist Steven Bailey and cellist Emil Miland. This is a unique evening of celebration and concerts in the German Residence are always memorable events. Invitations have been mailed to all members - your friends are also welcome to attend.  If you need more please e-mail:  WagnerSocNC@gmail

Advance reservations are REQUIRED due to security measures of the German Residence. Reservations are $100 per person

Thursday April 14, 2016

Aidan Lang, General Director Seattle Opera

Aidan Lang arrived at Seattle Opera from Auckland, New Zealand in March 2014 to "shadow" Speight Jenkins and learn the ropes at the company. After a year at the helm, Aidan Lang will tell us about his plans for the 2016-2017 season which will be the first full season he as programmed in his new post.

Selected by the Seattle Opera Board of Trustees after a two-year, international search process, Aidan Lang became Seattle Opera’s General Director on September 1, 2014. He served as General Director of New Zealand Opera from 2006 to 2013, and has also held positions of artistic leadership at Buxton Festival, Glyndebourne, and Opera Zuid. As a freelance director, Lang staged the first Brazilian production of Wagner’s Ring at the historic Teatro Amazonas in Manaus. Other noted productions include Le Comte Ory (Welsh National Opera), Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Lisbon), The Turn of the Screw (Salzburg) and the British premieres of The Magic Fountain by Frederick Delius (Scottish Opera) and Cornet Christoph Rilke’s Song of Love and Death by Siegfried Matthus (Glyndebourne). 

As well as introducing Seattle Opera’s 2016/17 season, including an insight into the repertoire planning and artistic choices, Aidan Lang will also demonstrate the conceptual and decision processes used to create a Ring Cycle, using his own 2005 production from Brazil’s historic Teatro Amazonas as an example.

Location: JCC-SF

3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118



Saturday March 19, 2016

Tales from the Pit

A member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1988, Mr. Miland enjoys a much acclaimed career as a soloist, chamber & orchestral musician. He made his solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 16, the same year he was selected to perform in the Rostropovich Master Classes at the University of California, Berkeley. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, he has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America. He has collaborated as a soloist in concert with Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, the late Zheng Cao and the late Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson. In 2010, Mr. Miland was invited by von Stade to perform with her at Carnegie Hall for her farewell recital.

Many composers have written and dedicated new works for him including Ernst Bacon, David Conte, David Carlson, Shinji Eshima, Jake Heggie, Andrew Imbrie, Lou Harrison, Richard Hervig, James Meredith and Dwight Okamura. His recordings include David Carlson's Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Utah Symphony on New World Records and the Sonata for Cello and Piano with pianist, David Korevaar on MSR Records. He is featured on many of Jake Heggie's recordings beginning with the RCA Red Seal CD, "The Faces of Love: The Songs of Jake Heggie" and most recently, the 2013 release, "Here/After: Songs of Lost Voices on Pentatone". 

In his presentation, Miland will talk about what it is like to play in the opera orchestra, working with different conductors and a wide range of repetory.  He will also bring his cello and play some of his favorite works for us.

Saturday February 20, 2016 1:00 p.m.


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday February 20, 2016

Wagner's Bayreuth and Hitler's Munich

Wagner's Bayreuth and Hitler's Munich  Professor David Clay Large
Germany’s history between national unification in 1871 and the Third Reich can be read in part as a tale of two Bavarian cities, Bayreuth and Munich, which were linked culturally and politically by the protean heritage of Richard Wagner, among other ties.  The toxic socio-political ideology associated with Wagner’s circle of disciples at Bayreuth found echoes and perpetuators among the proponents of extreme nationalism and racism who went on to make Munich their principal center of operations during the First World War and immediate post-war era.  The chief beneficiary of this fateful embrace was Adolf Hitler, who exploited support from Bayreuth to gain cultural credibility and political influence in Munich—and whose henchmen then deployed ideas derived from Wagnerian theater and Bayreuth-Circle social theory to transform Munich into the “Capital of the Nazi Movement.”  My lecture investigates the use—and misuse—of a complex cultural legacy in the evolution of Germany’s greatest catastrophe. 
David Clay Large is Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and Professor of History at the Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco.  He has taught at Smith College, Montana State University, and Yale University, where he was also Dean of Pierson College.  Large is the author or editor of some twelve books, including Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics; Where Ghosts Walked: Munich’s Road to the Third Reich; Berlin: Biography of a City; Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936; and, most recently, The Grand Spas of Central Europe: A History of Intrigue, Politics, Art, and Healing.
JCC-SF  2nd Floor Gallanter Hall
3200 California Street (California @ Presidio)
San Francisco, CA

Saturday January 30, 2016

Cosima Party 2015

Join the Wagner Society as we wrap-up the year with this popular celebratory event.

The event kicks off with a "bubbly" greeting and then our entertainment for the event.

Noted Wagnerian soprano Maire Plette will perform her hilarious rendition of the Anna Russell's famous "The Ring of the Nibelungen". Marie is well-known to local audiences for her performances at the Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Livermore Valley Opera and West Edge Opera. Ms. Plette will be accompanied by Alexander Katsman, Artistic Director and Music Director of the Livermore Valley Opera.

The music will be followed by the banquet which includes fine red and white wine.

Entree Options:

A) Dill Crusted Salmon, Whole Grain Mustard Beurre Blanc, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Julienne Vegetables

B) Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Coriander Crust, Sweet Potato Risotto, Julienne Vegetables

C) Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Filled with Basmati Rice Pilaf and Roasted Tomato Sauce (Vegetarian Vegan and Gluten Free Option)

Dessert Chocolate Supreme Cake with Coffee and Tea

Registration for this banquet is $100 per person

Deadline for registation is December 2nd

Sunday December 13, 2015

Symposium - Meistersinger!

The Poet's Task: "It sounded so old, and yet was so new" (Es klang so alt, und war so neu)

It is Wagner Society tradition to conduct a symposium in conjunction with Wagner opera performances in San Francisco. The symposium will discuss Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. Registration begins 9:30 and Symposium convenes at 10:00. We will break at Noon for a catered box lunch (lunch is included in registration fee)

The speakers:

Evan Baker, Ph.D., author,  Opera Historian "Production History of Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Scott Foglesong, pianist, Professor: UC Berkeley, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UCSF Fromm Institute "Wagner's Word Painting"

Dr. Arthur Colman, M.D. UCSF Clinical Professor of Psychiatry "Wagner's Master Class: The Psycho-analysis of Walther von Stolzing

Simon Williams, Ph.D. Progessor Department of Theater and Dance UC Santa Barbara "Die Meistersinger: Wagner's Shakespearean Opera". 

More detailed description of the event will be forthcoming - there is a fee for this event

Registration: $65 for WSNC Members      $75 for Non-Members*

NOTE: Non-Members who register for the Symposium qualify to have a $10 reduction in annual dues for 2016. Consider joining, you most welcome!

LOCATION: JCC-SF 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA (corner of California and Presidio)  Main Floor Fisher Family Hall

Saturday November 21, 2015

MET OPERA HD - Tannhaeuser


James Levine conducts Wagner’s early masterpiece in its first return to the Met stage in more than a decade. Today’s leading Wagnerian tenor, Johan Botha, takes on the daunting title role of the young knight caught between true love and passion. Eva-Maria Westbroek is Elisabeth, adding another Wagner heroine to her Met repertoire after her acclaimed Sieglinde in the Ring a few seasons ago. On the heels of his recent triumph in Parsifal, Peter Mattei sings Wolfram, and Michelle DeYoung is the love goddess, Venus.

This is the Otto Schenk, Günther Schneider-Siemssen production which has been at the Met since 1977.


Saturday October 31, 2015

Wagner à quatre mains: Four-Hand Piano and the Wagner phenomenon

JCC-SF 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA (corner of California and Presidio) 

The Wagner Society welcomes back Professor Adrian Daub, Associate Professor of German Studies, Stanford University

Wagner à quatre mains: Four-Hand Piano and the Wagner phenomenon

It is easy to see that Richard Wagner's operas became cultural mainstays in the German-speaking world and beyond during the late nineteenth century. What may be more surprising is that many of those who effortlessly referenced his musical works, who regarded him as the future of music, and as the carrier of a renewed German national identity, did not encounter them in the opera house. And even those that did lived with Wagner's music on a day-to-basis thanks to another cultural obsession of the second half of the nineteenth century: the piano transcription, preferably the transcription for four hands. Long is the list of famous contemporaries who did not encounter Wagner and his oeuvre as listeners, but as players of transcriptions.

This lecture asks about what role piano transcription played in the constitution of Wagner's oeuvre, what role it played in Wagner's own circle, and how it shaped the cultural phenomenon of Wagner-idolatry. More specifically it will show that the Wagner-mythos intersected crucially with another: contemporaries regarded Wagner's music as shockingly erotic, and they generally looked at four-hand piano playing in much the same way. What bearing did it have that Wagner entered so many a bourgeois home not through the aseptic LP or the decorous visit to the opera house, but via two bodies entwined and sweaty over a single keyboard?

Adrian Daub received his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and his Masters and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. His studies focus on the intersection of music, literature and philosophy. His numerous publications include: Four-Handed Monsters: Four-Hand Piano Playing and Nineteenth-Century Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014), Uncivil Unions - The Metaphysics of Marriage in German Idealism and Romanticism  (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

This lecture is free to Wagner Society Members and $10 suggested donation for guests.

Location: JCC-SF 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA (corner of California and Presidio) 1:00 p.m. Gallanter Hall

Saturday October 17, 2015

Wagner Genius in Exile

JCC-SF 3200 California Street (intersection of California and Presidio) San Francisco, CA


In this biographical and musical road movie by Andy Sommer, Antoine Wagner Pasquier heads to Switzerland on the trail of his great-great-grandfather, renowned composer Richard Wagner. In order to comprehend the composer's complex personality, Antoine Wagner returns to sites where his ancestor lived, meeting historians, musicologists, musicians, and enlightened amateurs, and exploring the landscapes that inspired Richard Wagner in one of his most artistically rich periods. 

With breathtaking vistas of Switzerland combined with photography of Antoine Wagner, the film takes the viewer through the cities, villages and hiking trails which  Richard Wagner visited during his two periods of exile in Switzerland.

Our guest Antoine Wagner  Pasquier, great great grandson of Richard Wagner, is a French/American Artist and Filmmaker, son of Eva Wagner Pasquier.  He was born 1982 in Evanston, IL, USA and presently lives and works between New York and Paris. After growing up in a trilingual household first in London and then in Paris, Antoine Wagner came to Chicago to study theater and political science. His current work in photography and film is most interested in capturing the intricacies of human behavior. His most recent cinematographic efforts have principally been music videos, shorts and some video works. He is currently assisting on a feature film in New York.

Antoine Wagner attended Northwestern University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater (2005) and also attended Northwestern University + Sciences Po , Paris, France receiving a Bachelor of Science in Political Sciences (2005). He continued his studies at New York University, Tish School of the Arts - Film studies (2006).

* Antoine Wagner has a new art exhibition opening in France on September 11th and it would be impossible for him to be with us on the 12th . . .  the JCC-SF graciously moved our event to September 19th. Thank you JCC-SF for being so cordial and flexible!

Location: JCC-SF 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CA (corner of California and Presidio) 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall



Saturday September 19, 2015

Francesca Zambello - WNO Ring Talk

Space is limited, admission is available by reservation only
The Washington National Opera is presenting for the first time 3 complete cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen from April 30 to May 22, 2016. This will be ​ the same widely praised production by Francesca Zambello which many Society members saw in San Francisco in 2011. The Washington National Opera has engaged an exciting cast, many are San Francisco audience favorites. Washington National Opera Music Director Philippe Auguin will lead the WNO orchestra and a cast which includes: Alan Held, David Cangelosi, William Burden, Gordon Hawkins, Christopher Ventris, Elizabeth Bishop, Jamie Barton, Eric Halfvarson and in the role of Brünnhilde Catherine Foster (Cycle 1 and 2) and Nina Stemme (Cycle 3).
On September 10th, the Washington National Opera and the Wagner Society of Northern California will present a talk by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and you are invited to attend and hear about the first Ring Festival to be held in Washington D.C.  This talk will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Absinthe Restaurant 398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA
Space is limited, admission is available by reservation only.
If you would like to attend and hear more about the Washington National Opera Ring please RSVP by e-mail to: Colin Brush at Please include your full name, phone number and e-mail address.
Cycle 1 April 30 - May 6
Cycle 2 May 10 - May 15
Cycle 3 May 17 - May 22
The Wagner Society of Northern California continues to offer group seating for Cycle #3 AND NOW Cycle #1 and Cycle #2 If you are interested in purchasing tickets, contact Joan Lam, the WSNC Group Ticket Coordinator   Our tickets are allocated on priority basis, before sales to the general public for best available seating.

Thursday September 10, 2015

A Story Map of the Land of the Ring AND Wagner Societies Today

JCC-SF 3200 California Street (intersection of California and Presidio - San Francisco, CA) 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

The originally scheduled program "Genius in Exile" with Antoine Pasquier Wagner is postponed. We are in the process of rescheduling this program. The Society is delighted that Marty Kirschen has agreed to move his Fall program in to fill the spot with his talk: "Story Map of the Land of the Ring"

There is a special addition to the program!

Bayreuth University student Elfi Vomberg will be giving a short presentation at the beginning of the meeting. Elfi Vomberg is traveling to several cities in Germany, the U.S. and Japan, collecting information for her dissertation on Wagner Societies - "Wagnervereine heute" (Wagner Societies Today). Vomberg will give a short talk and will schedule one-on-one interviews with a few members. There will also be an on-line questionaire which members can complete at their leisure.

Next we will introduce our guest speaker, Marty Kirschen will give a two-part talk which will take us on a journey along the many pathways of the Ring. Part 1 is a Quiz - The Ring of Fortune, the audience will participate in a quiz covering categories such as Distances and Directions, Birds and Beasts, Nature, Human Nature to name a few. The audience will also be invited to raise their own questions and everyone gets prizes.

In Part Two Kirschen invites everyone to join him on this epic journey of the Ring using maps he has designed. These maps were constructed using the opera stage directions, the libretto and a topographical map of the Rhine River and environs. Kirschen lays out directions, distances and destinations gleaned from these many resources. The audience will follow Wotan and Alberich and other main Ring characters as they make their fortunes and suffer their misfortunes. We will examine the journeys of the treasures, weapons and other items. And we will see caves, forests and mountains along the way. Included in this presentation will be excerpts from the Solti Ring and the illustrations of Arthur Rackham.

Our speaker Martin Kirschen is a retired special education teacher, writer, speaker, east/west wellness facilitator and the publisher of his own opera education items ( Kirschen comes from a military family and after spending his boyhood  years in Germany, he has lived in New York and Los Angeles. Kirschen published his first Ring Family Tree in 1979 and his enterprise has grown to distribution of these works in German and French and he has created other items such as T-Shirts, placemats and other Ring items.

Martin Kirschen has made this presentation for the Wagner Society of Southern California and for the Wagner Society of New York. 

This event is free to Wagner Society of Northern California and $10 for non-members.

Saturday July 11, 2015

"Like Stalactites in Humid Caves: the Genesis of Les Troyens"

1:00 June 13, 2015

JCCSF - 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

3200 California Street (intersection of California and Presidio)

San Francisco, CA

Les Troyens, the tragédie lyrique that forms the crown jewel of Berlioz's late career, stands comfortably alongside Meyerbeer's best, Don Carlos, and even its near-contemporary, Tristan. This talk considers Berlioz's lifelong obsession with the Aeneid, the intimacy with Liszt and Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein that fostered the decision to go to work, the literary and visual sources, and the opposing force of Zukunftsmusik / musique de l'avenir. The particular focus is on the great act IV, culminating in the wonderful G-flat love duet of Dido and Aeneas, where the panoply of references defines what we mean by cross-fertilization of the arts in Romantic music.

The Society is honored to welcome Professor D. Kern Holoman, U. C. Davis Distinguished Professor of Music emeritus, U.C. Davis Symphony Conductor emeritus. Professor Holoman received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and he is author of the first Catalogue of the Works of Hector Berlioz (Bärenreiter, 1987), the style guide Writing About Music (University of California Press, 1988; 2nd ed., 2008), Berlioz, A Life and Works (Harvard University Press, 1989), Masterworks, a multi-media textbook package (Prentice Hall, 1998, and subsequent eds.), The Société des Concerts du Conservatoire,1828–1967 (University of California Press, 2004), Charles Munch (Oxford University Press, 2012), and The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012). Holoman is conductor emeritus of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

This talk is free to members of the Wagner Society of Northern California. Admission fee is $10 for non-members.

Reading up for Les Troyens? Here are some of Professor Holoman's writings:


Saturday June 13, 2015

Recital at the German Residence

The Wagner Society of Northern California is delighted to announce that we have been invited to present a recital and reception at the German Residence of Consul General Schlueter and his wife Ana Luisa de Carvalho-Schlueter. These special Wagner Society events are delightful, however, this year the recital will be especially exciting.
The Society has invited local composer Liam Wade to organize the recital for us and he has gathered a group of superb musicians to perform:
WORLD PREMIERE: "The Eve of Waterloo", composed by Liam Wade text by Lord Byron (tenor, piano)
"Full Fathom Five" premiered in 2015 composed by Liam Wade text by Edna St. Vincent Millay (soprano, cello, piano)
"Allmacht ger vater, blick herab: Rienzi's Prayer"  from the opera Rienzi by Richard Wagner
"Wintersturme" from Die Walküre by Richard Wagner
The musical guests joining us will be Ann Moss, soprano, John Packard, tenor, Emil Miland, cello and Marcus Pawlik, piano. (pictured above from left to right)
There is a fee for this event. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. sharp, NO early-birds
BY INVITATION ONLY: This event is limited to dues-paid members only. Non-members will be permitted only if space permits.
Invitations will be mailed very soon, be certain to act quickly as the seating is quite limited and German Residence events fill up quickly.  



Tuesday June 9, 2015

Washington National Opera - Ring 2016

Our Group Ticket Organizer Joan Lam has worked tirelessly to put together a Group Ticket Offer to Cycle III of the Ring at the Washington National Opera in 2016.

Dates are: May 17, May 18, May 20 and May 22, 2016

Cast includes:

Wotan: Alan Held; Fricka: Jamie Barton; Fasolt: Julian Close ; Fafner: Soloman Howard; Siegmund: Christopher Ventris; Sieglinde: Meagan Miller; Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme; Alberich: Gordon Hawkins; Freia: Melody Moore; Mime: David Cangelosi, Loge: William Burden; Hunding: Ramond Aceto; Gerhilde and Third Norn: WSNC Grant awardee Marcy Stonikas

This is the same production which was seen in San Francisco in 2011 by director Francesca Zambello, with conductor Philippe Auguin, Music Director and Principle Conductor of the Washington National Opera.

Wagner Society Members in good standing are permitted to purchase one complete Ring Cycle in this offer. The advantage in obtaining Group Seating is that the orders for Groups are processed just after Patron/Subscribers. The WSNC Group offer gets you seats before the Box Office opens for sales to the general public.

Click above:  Washington National Opera - Ring 2016

The second page contains the downloadable PDF Forms which will need to complete and mail to Joan. 


Friday May 29, 2015

Art Exhibition & Concert Celebration of Richard Wagner


The Society will be exhibiting 47 painting of the late WSNC member and artist Cal Pedranti. The Firehouse/Adeline is a huge space which in which we will be able to exhibit the works. There will be a silent auction of the paintings.

In addition, we have arranged lively musical entertainment featuring the Awesome Orchestra who will play music of Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner and film score composer Howard Shore . The Awesome Orchestra is the brainchild of conductor David Moeschler and the group is a community based group of professional musicians, skilled non-professionals and students.

The Program:
Wagner: Lohengrin - Prelude to Act III 
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique - Movement IV - "March to the Scaffold"
Shore, Howard - The Fellowship of the Ring - Orchestral Suite (arranged by John Whitney).
Along with Moeschler we will also have a special guest conductor: D. Kern Holoman, Music Director Emeritus of the University of California Davis Symphony Orchestra and noted musicologist and Berlioz scholar.

Food and assorted beverages will be available for purchase. We have engaged the services of Little Red Riding Truck German Food. This popular "off the grid" food truck serves authentic Bavarian Food. The truck will serve from Noon until 3:00.

This ideal location is accessable by transit - it is right across the street from the Ashby BART Station - we encourage you to take transit.  There is ample parking at BART behind the Ed Roberts Campus or on the street around the venue.

Saturday May 23 from Noon until 4:00.

The image is "Siegfried-Funeral Procession" Cal Pedranti (a work from 1985-1988)

The event is FREE and you are encouraged to invite friends. Attire: Casual or Trachten: dirndl or lederhosen

Saturday May 23, 2015

Seminar: The Music of Wagner's Ring and the Life Cycle of an Audience


The Wagner Society is pleased to welcome Professor Heath Lees.  University professor, broadcaster, writer, and musicologist, Heath Lees is much sought-after for his lecturing skills, especially on anything to do with Wagner.

Twenty years ago Professor Lees and his wife founded the Wagner Society of New Zealand and from there, Heath has now built an international reputation as a dynamic communicator on the subject of music in general and Wagner in particular. In the last two years, Heath has presented his multi-media talks in France, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand. His most recent book is Mallarmé and Wagner: Music and Poetic Language. Professor Lees has also released a 4 DVD set of lectures on Wagner's Ring.

The Music of The Ring and the Life-Cycle of an Audience
Thanks largely to the impact of the Chéreau Bayreuth Ring in 1978, audiences have come to accept Wagner’s Ring not so much as a single, unified tale in four parts, but more as a stage-by-stage progression through four generational ‘bands’ of the 19th century:  
  •  Das Rheingold — the early decades of the century,
  •  Die Walküre — from the 1830s, 
  •  Siegfried as a reflection of the 1860s, and 
  •  Götterdämmerung reaching up to the threshold of the 20th century.  
In this presentation, Heath Lees takes the same kind of growth-progression, but applies it to the experience of the audience.  To start with, he says, Wagner’s musical language is utterly simple and striking, just like the baby language of Weia Weia Wagalaweia that opens Das Rheingold, and signifies human growth after birth.  In Die Walküre the audience shares the adolescent passion of Sieglinde and Siegmund, and through the tragic story of Wotan, begins to experience on a deeper level the more complex musico-dramatic language (‘endless melody’) that Wagner is using. Siegfried casts the audience into the role of reluctant parents, while Götterdämmerung treats them as grandparents, older, sadder and wiser, ready to hand over the running of the world to a younger generation in the hope that something better might be made of it.
Using piano illustrations and filmed excerpts, Heath selects his way through the scores of all four operas, illustrating how Wagner’s music moves from being utterly simple (135 bars of just one chord at the start), to a continuous process of ever-increasing complexity and multi-layered effects.  
By the time audiences arrive at the end of Götterdämmerung they have lived through and gathered up what amounts to a lifetime of musical events —  a lifetime that allows them to look back over their complete musical panorama, and fortifies them for the task of handing over to the next generation, before passing on. 

We will enjoy these 4 talks "symposium style" with a box lunch break midway, box lunch is included in your reservation fee. Registration fee is $55 for members of the Wagner Society of Northern California. Non-member registration fee is $65.



Saturday April 25, 2015

Wagner and Bernstein: Parallels and Contrasts

Once asked how he could love Wagner, Leonard Bernstein replied, “I hate Wagner. On my knees!” Wagner and Bernstein shared extraordinary numbers of common characteristics. Both were flamboyant, controversial, and changed the face of music in their time and beyond. Both men were hugely successful as musicians and writers, with egos to match, and needed endless adoration from people. And both were geniuses in their own right. This presentation explores the parallels and contrasts in Wagner and Bernstein’s life paths and how, ultimately, their life works intersected.

The Wagner Society of Northern California is thrilled to welcome back speaker, author and lecturer Erica Miner. Former Metropolitan Opera violinist Erica Miner studied with Boston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Joseph Silverstein at Boston University, New England Conservatory and Tanglewood Music Center, where she also worked with Leonard Bernstein. Now an award-winning author, screenwriter, lecturer and arts writer for musical websites such as, Broadway World, and Opera Pulse, Erica has presented lectures for numerous groups on the west coast, including the three Wagner Societies in California, and will present for the Boston Wagner Society in 2015. Her recent thriller novel MURDER IN THE PIT authentically reflects her experiences in the Met Orchestra.

Members are free of charge, Guests welcome for a donation of $10

Saturday March 21, 2015

Call Me Debbie

Wagner Society Members may wish to attend this program which is presented by the JCC-SF Arts and Ideas Lecture Series.

Deborah Voigt has had an illustrious career singing on the stages of the great opera houses of the world. Well known as an exponent of both Wagner and Strauss, Voigt's repetory covers Strauss' Ariadne to Puccini's Minnie (Fanciulla del West). Debbie will talk about her life as an artist in her inimitable style. Those who purchase tickets will receive a copy of her newly-released autobiography "Call Me Debbie".

It has been announced that Ms. Voigt will treat the audience to a few songs as well.

Prices: Single tickets (one book)  Standard - $45  Premium $55                               

             Couple tickets (one book for the couple)  Standard - $70  Premium - $85

Reservations can be made through the JCC-SF Website. Members of the Society will receive a discount if they use the code VOIGT25 during the check-out process.

Tuesday February 17, 2015

Thomas Edison's Wagner Recordings

Believe it or not, many of the first of Thomas Edison's two minute cylinder recordings were of opera singers. Many of the first issues were oriented toward recording Wagner, in spite of the duration restrictions of the cylinders. It seems that Edison had hopes of exploiting an untapped commercial market in America. Wagnerian opera was immensely popular at the Metropolitan Opera during the early 20th century and was also gaining wider exposure due to their national tours. Tours featured productions of Parsifal, Tannhäuser and the Ring.

Our guest speaker is Jeffrey McMillan who has been researching the Edison cylinders supported by a grant from the Association of Recorded Sound Collections. This research has so far led to several significant discoveries including the exact dates and locations of the Edison recordings. McMillan will present his findings and discuss how the National Phonograph Company's cylinders compliment the overall history of Wagner singing in America before the Great War. Edison focused on tenors as has McMillan's research. We will hear about the American careers of Heinrich Knote, Andreas Dippel and the most peculiar caree of them all, Alois Burgstaller. A product of Bayreuth training and the advocacy of cosima Wagner, Burgstaller sang exclusively Wagnerian roles throughout his career.

Jeffrey McMillan holds a graduate degree in Jazz History and Research and served as an archivist of the Metropolitan Opera for 10 years. Now based in the Bay Area, McMillan continues his work as a consultant to the Met, as a freelance writer and as Managing Editor of the peer reviewed Journal of Jazz Studies. He currently serves as the Executive Administrator for American Bach Soloists.

Members - Free of Charge

Guests are welcome for a $10 donation

Saturday February 7, 2015

Jess Thomas "A Dream Forged Into Reality"

The Wagner Society is delighted to welcome Victor Thomas and Jess Thomas, Jr., sons of the unforgettable tenor Jess Thomas.

The Thomas brothers will present a multi-media presentation for the Society, a program which will include:

  • The documentary film A Dream Forged into Reality
  • Jess Thomas' own home movies from Bayreuth with narration
  • Excerpts of a radio interview with Jess Thomas
  • Audio clips of Thomas singing his most famous Wagnerian roles
  • Costumes and other memorabilia from Jess Thomas' illustrious career

You won't want to miss this presentation.

This program is free to members of the Wagner Society of Northern California, guests are welcome for a $10 entry fee


Saturday January 10, 2015

Cosima Birthday Banquet





Sunday December 14, 2014

*Special Concert*

The Wagner Society welcomes Steinway Artist and piano virtuoso Stephan Möller. Stephan Möller is also professor of piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, President of the Vienna International Piano Institute and also serves on the juries of many piano competitions world-wide which is what brings him to California (see additional information on Stephan Möller below). The program will be devoted to Richard Wagner with several of Wagner's rare piano works as well as piano transcriptions of Wagner's works. Those of us who heard Möller perform last year at the Wagner-Liszt Festival will not soon forget his riveting performance.
Tickets are $25 per person. This event is open to the public and we welcome our members to invite friends for this unique concert.
Stephan Möller first gained prominence as a prizewinner at the 1985 International Beethoven Competition in Vienna. Since then his busy concert schedule has taken him to Japan, China, North and South America as well as all over Europe. Performing all the standard repertory, Stephan Möller has concentrated especially on the interpretation of the Viennese classics, in particular Beethoven’s thirty-two sonatas, as well as on Franz Liszt’s paraphrases of Wagner opera scenes and transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies. Among his CD recordings, there are such rarities as Beethoven's “Grosse Fuge” and the complete piano works of Wagner. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Stephan Möller studied piano and conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. From 1983 to 1989 he assisted Herbert von Karajan and other world-renowned conductors at the Salzburg Festival. In 1990 he took up an appointment at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. He is president of the Vienna International Pianists Association and their festival, the “VIP Academy.”
There will be light refreshments served after the concert.
The Program (subject to change at the descretion of the artist) :

Fantasy RWV 22 (1831)

Sonata für Mathilde RWV 85 (1853)

Albumblatt "Ankfunft bei den schwarzen Schwönen" RWV 95 (1861)

Walhall (arr. Franz Liszt  S 449449)


Tristan Vorspeil (arr. Möller) and Liebestod (S 477 arr. Liszt)

Sonata in A Major (Grosse Sonata) RWV 26 (1832)


For further information please phone: (415) 421-4412 and leave a message

Sunday November 16, 2014

Dr. Evan Baker - The "Rube Goldberg" Effect in Wagner Productions

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an over-engineered contraption designed to perform a simple task in a complicated way.  Wagner’s operas are never easy to produce, and the implementation of special effects – the sinking of the Holländer’s ship, swimming Rheindaughters, and the Verwandlung (change of scenery) in Parsifal are prime examples.  Nonetheless, stage designers, theater technicians, and stagehands are an exceedingly clever group of people.  Their solutions to these effects may seem complicated and “Rube Goldbergese,” but in actuality, the execution was quite simple.  A look “behind the scenes” in the creation of these effects with audio, animation, and digital examples will be offered, along with a recreation of the original Verwandlung from the forest to the Temple of the Grail in Parsifal.

Baker recently published From the Score to the Stage on University of Chicago Press. Baker's book received the Prose Award for the Best Book on Music and the Performing Arts from the Association of American Publishers.

Phillip Gossett also gave high praise to Dr. Baker's book in a recent review in The New York Review of Books.

A review from

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10



3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday November 8, 2014

Professor Marjorie Wade - The Genealogy of Parsifal

In a recent e-mail exchange with Professor Wade regarding the Covent Garden HD's of Parsifal, the family tree of Parsifal came up. It seems Professor Wade had just finished teaching courses on medieval studies and Parsifal at California State University Sacramento.

Like much of Richard Wagner's work, his final opera, Parsifal, was inspired by his interest in German medieval literature. The earliest complete Grail romance in European literature is Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, which appeared during the first quarter of the 13th century. The 84 surviving manuscripts of the 25,000 line romance attest to the immense popularity of Wolfram's work, relating the adventures of the knight from Arthur's court in his quest for the Grail. The epic scale of Wolfram's Parzival made it however unsuitable for opera. 
In Parsifal Wagner has condensed the story, simplified the action, reduced the number of characters, and eliminating entirely the hero's family history and his genealogy. The medieval audience, however, would have been familiar with the essential facts about Parzival's heritage from Wolfram's Books (chapters) I and II: a prehistory naming his ancestors, the romance of the hero's parents, the adventures of Gahmuret as knight errant, his two marriages and the complex family genealogy which links the Arthurian and the Grail circles. A familiarity with the genealogy of Parzival and the complex family relationships binding him to both the Arthurian circle and the family of the Grail king deepens our appreciation of both the epic and the opera.
A look at Parzival's family tree confirms not only his place in the Grail dynasty, but that of his eldest son and successor, Lohengrin. Like in any genealogical quest, we may discover open questions that we can continue to pursue.
We are very excited to welcome Marjorie Wade to our lecture series. Dr. Wade is a Professor of German in the Foreign Language Department at CSUS. She also teaches courses on German Civilization,Culture, Folklore and Legends.


Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday October 25, 2014

Desiree Mays - "Wagner's Women: Real and Imagined"

Desiree Mays returns to San Francisco and the Wagner Society of Northern California with an interesing talk entitled "Wagner's Women: Real and Imagined"

At one point the three most important women in Wagner's life came together under one roof: Minna, his wife; Mathilde, his current beloved; and Cosima, married to another man at the time. Simultaneously, he was bringing to life Brünnhilde and her sisters and the doomed Isolde. Desirée will attempt to unravel this and other similar situations with direct quotes, images and, of course, Wagner's music.


Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday September 13, 2014

The Agony and the Ecstasy - Tannhäuser's Journey to Albania

Tenor Roy Stevens and Stage Director Daniel Helfgott worked long and hard to bring the first-ever performance of Wagner's Tannhäuser to the stage in Tirane, Albania. There were times when they feared the project might not come to fruition. 

But it did! Stevens and Helfgott will share their story and also present video of the production.  Their work was supported through the William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday July 26, 2014

WSNC - Not just horned helmets and flying horses

Wagner Society of Northern California President, Terri Stuart, was invited to give a presentation for the Rossmoor Opera/Ballet Club.

In her talk, Terri Stuart will discuss the history of Wagner Societies, beginning with the establishment of the first Wagner Society in Germany in 1865, the mission of the Wagner Societies and the relevance of the Wagner Societies today. Ms. Stuart will also discuss the history of the Wagner Society of Northern California, its origins and how the local Wagner Society of Northern California continues to uphold the long-standing tradition of music education, support of the Bayreuth Festival and encouragement of the next generation of Wagnerian artists.

Terri Stuart has been a member of the Wagner Society of Northern California since 1999 and has held various positions on the Board of Directors over the years: Director of Programs, Treasurer, Vice-President and President. Ms. Stuart has also served on the board of Festival Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild – East Bay Chapter.

The Rossmoor Opera/Ballet Club members free of charge, $5 entry fee for non-members.

Rossmoor is a gated community, please use the Guest Entry Lane to Rossmoor. When you stop at the security booth, please tell the security agent that you are going to the:

Rossmoor Opera/Ballet Event in the Gateway Clubhouse          

This is very important and will avoid confusion and speed your access to the event

Light refreshments follow the lecture. There is also a drawing for door prizes.


Wednesday July 23, 2014

Dan Sherman - The Legacy of Wagner on Record

“The Legacy of Wagner on Record”  The music of Richard Wagner has figured prominently in the music recording industry, offering many challenges to recording companies and to listeners. Dr. Sherman will talk about recordings of Wagner’s music from cylinders to the cloud.  He will play examples of some of his favorite recordings in an entertaining multimedia presentation that includes some rare “Wagner Oldies” showcasing great performances form the past.

A long-time member of the WSNC Dan Sherman has presented several programs for the Society and we are delighted to welcome him back.

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118


Saturday June 28, 2014

Richard Wagner Birthday Celebration


The Society has been invited to celebrate Richard Wagner's Birthday at the beautiful German Residence of Consul General and Mrs. Peter Rothen.

Our special musical guest for this event is mezzo soprano Kindra Scharich who will perform the "Wesendonck Lieder" for our members and guests.

It has been TWELVE YEARS since the Society has presented an event with the Wesendonck Lieder. In thinking back it was an event at the Century Club with the great mezzo Janis Martin.

More details will be coming, a beautiful formal invitation is being readied. The Social Committee is busy organizing what will be an elegant and unforgettable event.

There is a reservation fee for this event and proceeds benefit the William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

Tuesday May 27, 2014

WSNC Film Screening - Wagner's Jews

Can Art Transcend Hatred and Bigotry?

The German opera composer Richard Wagner was notoriously anti-Semitic, and his writings on the Jews were later embraced by Hitler and the Nazis. But there is another, lesser-known side to this story.

For years, many of Wagner’s closest associates were Jews— young musicians who became personally devoted to him, and provided crucial help to his work and career. They included the teenaged piano prodigy Carl Tausig; Hermann Levi, a rabbi’s son who conducted the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal; Angelo Neumann, who produced Wagner's works throughout Europe; and Joseph Rubinstein, a pianist who lived with the Wagner family for years and committed suicide when Wagner died. Even as Wagner called for the elimination of the Jews from German life, many of his most active supporters were Jewish— as Wagner himself noted with surprise.

Who were they? What brought them to Wagner, and what brought him to them? These questions are at the heart of Hilan Warshaw’s documentary WAGNER'S JEWS, the first film to focus on Wagner's complex personal relationships with Jews. Filmed on location in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, WAGNER'S JEWS tells these remarkable stories through archival sources, visual re-enactments, interviews, and performances of original musical works by Wagner’s Jewish colleagues— the first such performances on film. 

Following the film screening, The Wagner Society has invited guests for a panel discussion and then the floor will be opened for questions. Our panel will be comprised of: Hilan Washaw, the writer, producer and film maker of Wagner's Jews, Jonathan Khuner, Assistant Conductor, San Francisco Opera and Dr. Steven Goldberg, M.D. a local psychiatrist and presenter for "Opera on the Couch", post-opera discussions coordinated with the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis.

Free to members; non-members $10

HILAN WARSHAW is a filmmaker, writer, and educator based in New York City. Through his production company, Overtone Films LLC, he produces and directs independent projects as well as videos for organizations including Carnegie Hall, the League of American Orchestras, and the Dicapo Opera Theatre. He recently produced, directed, wrote, and edited Wagner's Jews, Overtone Films' new television documentary for WDR and ARTE.

In addition to his producing/directing work, his writing credits include the PBS documentary A Workshop for Peace; his video editing credits include PBS films such as Shadows in Paradise: Hitler's Exiles in Hollywood (PBS/ARTE), In the Key of G, and the miniseries Great Conversations in Music.

Hilan Warshaw has a B.F.A. with honors (Film & TV) and M.F.A. (Musical Theatre Writing) from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. An experienced violinist and conductor, he studied orchestral conducting at Mannes College of Music and the Aspen Music School.

For more information visit

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday April 5, 2014

Film Screening - East Bay International Jewish Film Festival

Can't make it to the WSNC Meeting on April 5th? Here is an earlier opportunity to see Hilan Warshaw's film Wagner's Jews. The documentary is being screened during the 19th Annual East Bay International Jewish Film Festival. It will be screened at the Pleasant Hill Century 16 Theater.

Wagner's Jews  10:30 a.m.
USA/Germany, 2013, 55 minutes, English/German/Hebrew/subtitles
Bay Area Premiere! Although German composer Richard Wagner’s anti-Semitic writings were embraced by the Nazis, he maintained close relationships with his Jewish colleagues and assistants, including piano prodigy Carl Tausig, conductor Hermann Levi, producer Angelo Neumann and pianist Joseph Rubinstein (who lived with Wagner’s family for many years). This provocative documentary also examines the continuing debate over performing Wagner in Israel.

Century 16 | $8
Guest Speaker: Ken Blady

Thursday March 13, 2014

Dr. Stephen Hinton - Der fliegende Holländer

Wagner himself wrote of Holländer "From here begins my career as a poet, and my farewell to the mere concoter of opera texts". Stanford Music Professor Dr. Hinton spoke on Holländer in preview lectures for the San Francisco Opera Guild in October 2013. However, Dr. Hinton's talk was only able to skim the surface of this music drama which changed opera forever. Dr. Hinton will expand further on aspects of Holländer's unique musical language and ground breaking structure.

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday March 8, 2014

Technical Challenges of Wagner's Operas

Wagner's Ring poses theatrical challenges that boggle the mind. Wagner wanted flying horses, swimming mermaids, disappearing people, dragons, blazing flames, anvil splitting and strategic sword extractions. Over the years Wagnerian audiences have come to expect 'what Wagner wanted" and are never shy in expressing their opinions about Ring productions.

Robert Schaub is no stranger to these challenges and he worked behind the scenes not only on the Seattle Ring, but with many other productions presented by the Seattle Opera.

Schaub will examine a number of iconic moments in various Ring productions from the 1970's forward and he will demonstrate how directors have dealt with these challenges using the technology of their time.

Robert Schaub has been the director of Seattle Opera's technical and facilities department for more than 20 years. He played a key role in the development and realization of designs for McCaw Hall. Schaub is the recipient of a 2001 Eddy (Entertainment Design) award for his work on Seattle Opera's Der Ring des Niebelungen. He made his Seattle Opera design debut in May 2013, partnering with Robert Dahlstrom on the set design for Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In season 2013-2014 he is on the technical teams for Tales of Hoffman, Rigoletto, The Counsul, and The Daughter of the Regiment.

Program begins at 1:00 p.m.     Free to members, non-members $10


3200 California Street (at Presidio)

San Francisco, CA 94118

Saturday February 22, 2014

CANCELLED ROH-Parsifal in HD - Sacto

Posted January 14, 2014

We are extremely sorry to announce that theTower Theater has cancelled the 2nd showing of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Parsifal in HD. The booking policies of individual theaters are beyond the control of the WSNC.

Screenvision Distribution is screening the Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Parsifal in HD. The Sacramento screenings will be at the Tower Theater.

Sunday January 19, 2014

Nikolas Lehnhoff - Documentary Film Tribute

Director Nikolas Lehnhoff is an Honorary Member of the Wagner Society of Northern California. Over the course of many years, award-winning documentarian Reiner E. Moritz has created documentaries about Lehnhoff's productions of Wagner operas.

The Wagner Society will screen two of these fascinating film examinations of the creative process and Lehnhoff's insights into his productions.

Film #1 "Tannhäuser, The Revolutionary" goes behind the scenes to chronicle Lehnhoff's Baden Baden production of Tannhäuser. As described by Frankfurter Allegmeine Zeitung, "Lehnhoff's calm, linear theatrical production underpins the music."

The documentary includes interviews with Lehnhoff, conductor Philippe Jordan and cast members Robert Gambill, Camilla Nylund, Waltraud Meier and Tom Fox.

This screening is licensed by Arte Haus Musik

Film #2 "Never Shalt Thou Ask of Me" examines the breathtaking 2006 Baden Baden Lohengrin. This documentary takes a look behind the scenes of a production described as "Powerfully acted, almost like a Strindberg play". There are interviews with Lehnhoff, set designer Stefan Braunfels, costume designer Bettina Walter, conductor Kent Nagano and cast members Solveig Kringleborn, Tom Fox and Roman Trekel.

Screening is presented with permission of the film maker Reiner E. Moritz

You can learn more about Reiner E. Moritz and his award winning documentaries at his website:

Saturday January 18, 2014

FILM - Ludwig II

The 18th Annual Berlin and Beyond Film Festival will screen the lavish new film Ludwig II at the historic Castro Theater. Ticket pricing and sales information is forthcoming.

Produced in Germany and Austria in 2012 with the runtime of 130 minutes. In German*. Directed and written by Marie Noëlle and Peter Sehr. Photographed by Christian Berger. Starring Sabin Tambrea, with Sebastian Schipper, Hannah Herzsprung, Edgar Selge, Friedrich Mücke, Justus von Dohnányi, Samuel Finzi, Tom Schilling and Paula Beer

*It is not known, but it is presumed that there are English Subtitles for this film

This event is sponsored by the Goethe Institut San Francisco

Friday January 17, 2014

CANCELLED-Covent Garden Parsifal in HD - SF

Wagadmin phoned the Clay Theater and was informed that the performance on January 12th was cancelled.

Sorry for the inconvenience which is beyond the control of the Wagner Society of Northern California

Sunday January 12, 2014

ROH-Covent Garden Parsifal in HD - Sacto

Screenvision Distribution is screening the Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Parsifal in HD. The screenings for Sacramento are being held at the Tower Theater.

The cast: Simon O'Neill, Angela Denoke, René Pape, Gerald Finley and Willard White and Antonio Pappano conducts.

Running time is 345 minutes

Phone the Tower Theater for more information: (800) 326-3264



Saturday January 11, 2014

ROH-Covent Garden Parsifal in HD - SF

Screenvision Distribution is featuring a screening of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Parsifal. In San Francisco the screening takes place at the Clay Theater, in San Francisco.

Cast includes Simon O'Neill, Angela Denoke, René Pape, Gerald Finley and Willard White; Antonio Pappano conducts.

Running time 345 minutes

For more information contact the Clay Theater: (415) 561-9921

Thursday January 9, 2014

Book Reading - The Goethe Institut San Francisco

"Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art After Wagner"

Stanford Assistant Professor of German Studies Dr. Adrian Daub will be reading excerpts from his forthcoming book next week.  The reading and a reception will be held Wednesday December 11th at the Goethe Institut at 7:00 p.m.

The book entitled "Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art After Wagner"  deals with eroticism in German opera after Wagner. Daub traces the dual influence of "Gesamtkunstwerk" and eroticism from their classic expressions in "Tristan und Isolde" into the work of the generation of composers that followed. The book will be released soon on University of Chicago Press.

Suggested donation to the Goethe Institut is $5

Wednesday December 11, 2013

2013 Cosima Wagner Birthday Celebration




This year we have a very special program featuring Wagner orchestral excerpts, arranged for piano four-hands. Our special guests are Dr. Alan Rea and WSNC member Sylvia Park O'Neill. Here is the program for the musical portion of the celebration

·         Tannhäuser: Pilgrim-Chor  (Pilgrim's Chorus) - arr. von Bülow

·         Tannhäuser: O du mein holder Abendstern (Song to the Evening Star) - arr. Liszt

·         Der Fliegende Holländer: Spinnerlied (Spinning Song) - arr. Köhler

·         Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod (Love-death) - arr. Liszt

·         Die Walküre: Der Ritt der Walküren (Ride of the Valkyries) - arr. Brassin


This will be a fabulous banquet with the famous Wagner Society sparkling wine welcome apertif to set a festive mood.

All meals begin with a salad of baby spinach with candied walnuts, sliced pears, goat cheese, dressed with a sherry vinaigrette.

Entrée selections (denote your choice when you check out and pay):

a) Seared Filet of Sea Bass with Bay Shrimp and Herb Butter Sauce, Saffron Orzo Pasta and Asparagus

b) Coriander and Pepper Crusted Top Sirloin with Roquefort Butter, Duchess Potatoes and Julienne Vegetables

c) Vegetarian: Roasted Portabella Mushroom Stuffed with Provencal Vegetables and Orzo Pasta

Dessert concludes the meal - it is a luscious Raspberry Almond Cheesecake served with Coffee or Tea

As is customary, complimentary red and white wine are served at the table.

PROCEDURE TO ORDER: Please select the number of reservations and then click "ADD TO CART". A new screen will appear showing how many reservations you have made. If your order is correct, click the icon on the right to "CHECK OUT".  You will move to the "CHECK OUT" screen. Please enter all of the applicable information, including your e-mail address.

Finally at the bottom of the page, in the space denoted "ORDER COMMENTS" please enter the names of each person in your party and their entrée selection. "PREVIEW ORDER" to check accuracy and then submit your order. You will receive an order acknowledgement by e-mail. No tickets are issued, your name will be held at the door.

Thank you! This information will permit the committee to make a name badge and place card for each attendee. The place card will assist the wait staff in correctly serving your chosen entrée.

Sunday December 8, 2013

Holländer Postlude - Expanded Program

Following the final performance of San Francisco Opera's Der fliegende Holländer, the Wagner Society will have a special program to discuss and expand on Wagner's early opera Der fliegende Holländer. The Society has invited two noted speakers for this special expanded program.

The Society welcomes back Scott Fogelsong.  Dr. Fogelsong teaches music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, University of California Berkeley and the Fromm Institute. In addition to his teaching, Fogelsong also gives pre-performance talks for the San Francisco Symphony and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

The Society welcomes a new speaker, Desiree Mays. Desiree Mays, is known to many opera goers who have heard her lectures at the Santa Fe Opera as well as some who have participated in opera travel with Act 1 Performing Arts Tours.

We will update the site with the lecture titles when this information is available.

Saturday November 16, 2013

Der fliegende Holländer at San Francisco Opera

Once again the San Francisco Opera has generously offered to Wagner Society Members a special opportunity for discounted tickets to a Wagner Opera presentation.

The San Francisco Opera will offer WSNC members on-line sales for the final performance of Der fliegende Holländer at a generous 30% discount. The sale of these specially priced tickets is offered on-line only.

This production, new to the San Francisco Opera, will feature WSNC favorite - Greer Grimsley as the Dutchman and the cast also includes Petra Maria Schnitzer, Kristinn Sigmundsson and Ian Storey; Patrick Summers will conduct.

The ticket purchase information, detailed instructions and the discount code will be mailed directly to members as soon as the information is available.

And don't forget - there will be a special Der fliegende Holländer postlude meeting the following afternoon, Saturday November 16th

Friday November 15, 2013

Greer Grimsley - Master Class

Bass Baritone Greer Grimsley, in town for Der fliegende Hollander at the San Francisco Opera, takes time from his busy schedule to offer a Master Class at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Master Class will be held in the Main Concert Hall

Admission is FREE but pre-registration is required.  You can telephone the Conservatory to reserve:  (415) 503-6275

Monday November 11, 2013

EVENT - Greer Grimsley - Reception at the German Residence

The Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany and The Wagner Society of Northern California are hosting a reception honoring the great Wagnerian bass-baritone - Greer Grimsley. We begin greeting guests at 6:00 sharp (we cannot admit attendees prior to 6:00 p.m.). Festive hors d'oeuvre and beverages will be served.

This event is for members only,  non-members will be permitted if space allows. Events at the German Residence are very special, and seating is limited so please reserve early. 

The Wagner Society is also delighted to announce that Greer Grimsley will be awarded an Honorary Membership in the Society at this event. The event will feature a short recital by William O. Cord Memorial Grant Recipient Diana Sintich accompanied by 2009 Merola Program alumnus Carl Pantle.

Invitations were mailed to all members, for further information you may contact Uta Wagner at (650 697-3004 or e-mail Uta at

Reservations $100 per person, proceeds benefit the William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

Parking on Jackson is very scarce. We strongly encourage attendees to take public transit MUNI #49 or #47 and walk 2 blocks to the German Residence or park elsewhere and take a cab up to the German Residence.

Tuesday November 5, 2013

Wagner's Ring as Eco-Parable

The Wagner Society is always excited to welcome Dr. Thomas Grey to our lecture schedule. In his talk Professor Grey will discuss recent productions of Wagner's Ring, wherein global ecology provides the framework for the production. From Wotan ripping a limb from the World Ash to create his spear, to the overflowing of the banks of the Rhine in the climactic ending of Götterdämmerung, the abuse of the natural world is often a focal point in modern Ring productions. Dr. Grey will cover many Ring productions including the recent San Francisco Ring realized for the stage by Francesca Zambello.

Please join us for a stimulating talk and post-lecture discussion.

Saturday October 19, 2013

Berghaus, Kupfer, Friedrich & Chereau and their historical importance

The Wagner Society is always delighted to welcome Simon Williams for a program. This time Professor Williams will help us gain perspective on Wagner's Ring as realized by some of the great directors of our time. Williams will examine the ground breaking productions of Harry Kupfer, Ruth Berghaus, Goetz Friedrich and Patrice Chereau. More details about the talk will be posted soon but mark your calendar now.

Image of the Ruth Berghaus Das Rheingold


Saturday September 7, 2013

The Wagner Complex

Dr. Tom Artin, Author The Wagner Complex

The meaning of The Ring presented something of a riddle to Wagner himself.  The frame of reference through which I propose to unravel its secrets is the 19th century European Zeitgeist that engendered the evolving discovery of the unconscious, and formed the psychological and social matrix in which Wagner’s as well as Freud’s work is rooted.  The Freudian concepts of the Oedipus complex and the Family Romance, together with his structural metapsychology shed particular light on the drama of The Ring.  Though it seems a commonplace that Wagner’s operas offer fertile ground for psychoanalytic interpretation, remarkably little along these lines has actually been done.  The Wagner Complex aspires to fill this conspicuous void in the vast literature on Wagner and his works.

Our speaker Tom Artin received his Bachelors Degree in English and PhD with a concentration in English, French and German medieval literature, both from Princeton University.  Dr. Artin has taught at Drexel University, The Hun School, Swarthmore College, University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Rockland Community College. Artin has authored four books: The Allegory of Adventure (Bucknell), Earthtalk, Independent Voices and the Environment (Grossman Publishers), Arthurian Literature and Christianity (Garland Press) and The Wagner Complex: Genesis and Meaning of The Ring (Free Scholar Press) and has translated a number of books from German and Danish into English.

Here is a link to the website for Tom Artin's Book

Saturday June 29, 2013

American Liszt Society/Wagner Society - Music Festival

Saturday June 1, 2013 

Full Festival Pass $125 per person (does not include Saturday Box Lunch or Saturday Banquet). 

Saturday June 1, 2013 One-Day pass is available for $50 per person

 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.Registration – San Francisco Conservatory of Music


9:45                 Lecture Verdi and Wagner: Transcriptions in Historic Recordings

                        Donald Manildi


11:00               Lecture and Recital

                        Verdi Transcriptions by Hermann Cohen:

                        Fantasies on Nabucco and I Lombardi

                        Justin Kolb


12:00               Lecture and Recital

                        Felix Weingartner: a Sesquicentennial Salute

                        From Emil von Sauer

                        Richard Zimdars

                        Songs by Felix Weingartner

                        Gregory Broughton and Richard Zimdars


1:15                 Box Lunch at the Conservatory (not included in Festival Pass) – there is a separate fee for the Box

                        Lunch $15 per person – pay when pre-registering for the Festival


2:30                 Recital – Late Liszt Songs and Works Inspired by Wagner

                        Elizabeth and Benjamin Arnold


3:30                 Recital – Wagner Transcriptions

                        Chevillard: Ride of the Valkyries (arr. For 8 hands)

                        Mark Alexander, Michael Boyd, Nathaneal Leonard, Daivd Utterback

                        Tausig: Liebenszene und Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

                        Michael Boyd

                        Tausig: Winterstürme from Die Walküre

                        Dan Glover

                        Brassin: Magic Fire Music from Die Walküre

                        Dan Glover

                        Jordan: Immolation scene from Götterdämmerung

                        Jeremy Jordan


4:30                 Recital – Winners of the 2012 Los Angeles International Liszt



7:30                 ALS Festival Banquet - Hotel Whitcomb

                        There is a fee of $60 for the banquet (it is not included in the festival pass)

                        Please pay when you pre-register for the Festival – walk-ins will

                        Not be accepted)


See William Wellborn's description of the scheduled events below in the .doc file link below

We will have registration forms available soon.


Saturday June 1, 2013

American Liszt Society/Wagner Society - Music Festival

May 31, 2013

Full Festival pass is $125 per person (does not include Saturday Box Lunch or Saturday banquet)

Friday May 31, One-Day pass available for $50 per person


9:00 – 9:45      Registration - San Francisco Conservatory of Music


9:45 a.m.         Lecture – Wagner and Mathilde Wesendonk

                        Hans Rudolf Vaget


11:00               Rectial – Wagner Wesendonk Sonata and Wesendonk Lieder

                        Stephan Möller, Kevin McMillan, Gabriel Dobner


12:00               Recital – Wagner Works for Piano

                        Stephan Möller


1:00                 Lunch – at leisure (not included in the festival pass)


2:30                 Recital – Verdi: Songs

                        Denise Ritter Bernadini, Michael Boyd


                        Verdi: String Quartet in E Minor

                        Ives Quartet


3:45                 Recital  Verdi-Martinucci: Fantasia su Un Ballo in Maschera, Op.8

                        Jay and Sandra Mauchley

                        Verdi-Liszt: Paraphrases and Transcriptions

                        Rigoletto – Quartet

                        Hanson Tam

                        Requiem – Agnus Dei

                        Gila Goldstein

                        I Lombardi – Salve Maria (2nd version S. 431)

                        Alexandre Dossin

                        Don Carlo – Chorus and Funeral March

                        Yun Ha Hwang

                        Aida – Sacred Dance and Final Duet

                        Gila Goldstein

                        Simon Boccanegra – Reminisences

                        Jay Hershberger

                        Il Trovatore – Miserere

                        Alexander Djordjevic


5:15                 Dinner – at leisure (not included in the festival pass)


8:00                 Concert – OLD FIRST CHURCH 1781 Sacramento Street)

                        Antonio Pompa-Baldi

                        Works of Lyapunov, Chopin, Liszt and Piana


Locations: San Francisco Conservatory of Music 50 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Old First Church 1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

for more information:

Friday May 31, 2013

American Liszt Society/Wagner Society - Music Festival

Opening of the Festival

Full Festival Pass is $125.00 per person (does not include Saturday Box Lunch or Saturday evening banquet)

Thursday May 30, 2013 (one-day pass is available for $50.00 per person)


San Francisco Conservatory of Music

9:00 - 9:30      Registration

9:30 – 9:45      Introduction and Opening Remarks

9:45 a.m.         Recital: In the Shadow of Liszt – Music of Charles-Valentin Alkan

11:15               Lecture: The premiere of Lohengrin under Liszt in Weimar

                         August 28, 1850 – Speaker: Geraldine Keeling

12:00               Recital: N. Lincoln Hanks: Monstre sacré – the life of the self-indulgent


                        Paul Barnes


12:45               Lunch – at leisure (not included in the festival pass)


2:30 p.m.        Lecture Liszt and the Keyboard

                        Alan Walker

3:45                 Recital – Liszt Songs

                        Kevin McMillan, Gabriel Dobner

4:30                 Recital – Music of Liszt

                        Beethoven-Liszt: An die ferne Gelibte– Tien Hsieh

                        Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Sagen – Judith Neslény

                        Two Transcendental Etudes – Robert Schwartz

                        Polonaise in E Major – Corey McVickar


5:30                 Dinner – at leisure (not included in the festival pass)


8:00                 Gala Concert Wagner-Liszt: Paraphrases and Transcriptions

                        Tannhäuser – Entrance of the guests (arr for 8 hands by Hermann)

                        Jay and Sandra Mauchley, Connie Chen, William Wellborn

                        Tannhäuser – Evening Star

                        Gila Goldstein

                        Der fliegende Holländer– Spinning Chorus

                        Yun Ha Hwang

                        Der Fliegende Holländer – Senta’s Ballad

                        William Wellborn

                        Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Am Stillen Herd

                        Gregory Allen

                        Parsifal – March to the Grail

                        John Hord

                        Tristan und Isolde – Liebestod

                        Eugene Alcalay

                        Rienzi – Fantasy

                        Ksenia Nosikova

                        Lohengrin – Elsa’s Bridal Procession & Lohengrin’s Admonition

                        Mark Alexander

                       Lohengrin – Festival and Bridal Song

                        Tien Hsieh

                        Das Rheingold – Walhall

                        Stephan Möller

                        Tannhäuser – Overture

                        Matti Raekllio


10:15               Champagne Reception

                         Sponsored by the Wagner Society of Northern California


 for more information visit:

Thursday May 30, 2013

Professor Mary Ann Smart; UC Berkeley School of Music

Post-human Wagner: Staging the music dramas in the digital age
George Bernard Shaw’s The Perfect Wagnerite  (1898) begins by inviting the reader to imagine himself as a Rhinemaiden: “Let me assume for a moment that you are a young and good-looking woman.  Try to imagine yourself in that character in the Klondyke five years ago.  The place is teeming with gold.”  Here and elsewhere, Shaw figures the events and characters of Der Ring des Nibelungen as normal, familiar from the streets of London. Chéreau’s centennial production at Bayreuth (1976) famously brought Shaw’s ideology onto the stage; but the political allegory and realism derived from Shaw have become almost an orthodoxy, defining a default style of Ring productions.  With the translation of digital technologies onto the opera stage, however, a style of Wagnerian production has emerged that might be dubbed “post-human.”  This presentation will explore the technological, aesthetic, and psychological implications of this production style, while also asking what Wagner’s operas have come to mean in our present moment.

Mary Ann Smart is Gladyce Arata Terrill Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley.  Her book, Mimomania: Music and Gesture in Nineteenth-Century Opera (U of California Press, 2004), looked at the ways music gives signals for stage movement and acting style in repertory stretching from the first French grand operas of the 1830s to Verdi’s Aida and Wagner’s Ring.  She is editor of the critical edition of Donizetti’s last opera, Dom Sébastien, and of the articles on Bellini and Donizetti for the revised Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Smart has published articles on the lives and public images of nineteenth-century female singers, on the ways madness is depicted in opera, on the ways musical performance intersected with polite conversation and political maneuvering in Parisian social life, and on the role of Verdi’s operas played in promoting the Unification of Italy.  In 2007 Smart was awarded the Dent Medal by the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society.  Her book Waiting for Verdi: Opera and Political Opinion in Italy, 1815-1848 will be published next year by the University of California Press, and she has begun work on a new book that will study approaches to staging opera in Europe and North America since 1960.

Saturday April 6, 2013

Beethoven, Rossini and Wagner

Professor Nicholas Mathew, Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley

One of the tall tales of the meeting between Beethoven and Rossini (in Vienna in 1822) was supposedly recounted by the rotund Italian maestro himself to Richard Wagner late in the nineteenth century. Starting from this overlapping series of "composer encounters," this lecture will explore what the symbolic opposition between Beethoven and Rossini - a perceived aesthetic antagonism that became ever more fraught as the decades wore on - might teach us about Wagner's position in the history of nineteenth-century music.

Professor Mathew is an Assistant Professor of Musicology whose research interests include, Enlightenment and Romantic music, Beethoven, Haydn, Vienna, music and politics, aesthetics, cultural studies, pianos and performance

Saturday March 9, 2013

Post-Parsifal Grail Party

Updated February 5, 2013

Party details, sign-up and directions are now available

Many Wagner Society Members will be attending HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Parsifal on March 2nd 2013. After such a mind-blowing, powerful experience, we thought that perhaps some of our members would like to gather and share their thoughts and make a special event out of this unique opportunity.

WSNC member Anne Symanovich has arranged access to the large community room at her residence.  Anne's condominium is near Lake Merrit in Oakland, a site which is a short walk from BART. The HD should conclude at about 3:00 p.m. and we will schedule the event so that people who wish to attend are able to make their way over to Oakland. Some may wish to considering attending an HD in one of the many East Bay theaters which offer Met HD showings - nearer to the party.

We will have a pot luck party and all members are invited to join in, sharing and pondering the larger questions posed by Parsifal. There will be a small fee of $5 to attend, which will be used to buy supplies, wine, beer and other beverages.

See the File Attachment below for the details, directions and sign-up information. We hope to see you there! You are able to print out the attached document file.

Saturday March 2, 2013

Metropolitan Opera - Parsifal in HD

Check your local theater for tickets!

Saturday March 2, 2013


Roy Stevens, Tenor; Annalisa Winberg, soprano; Carolina Stevens, soprano; Richard Goodman, baritone all accompanied by Jonathan Khuner.

This free concert will feature music from Tannhäuser, Die Walküre and an aria from Verdi's Falstaff and as a special surprise Roy Stevens will sing an aria from Jakova's opera Skanderbeg sung in Albanian.

Roy Stevens and Jonathan Khuner are embarking on a project to bring Wagner’s Tannhäuser to Tirana, Albania – this would be the first time any of Wagner’s operas will be performed in Albania. This concert is free of charge and Roy and Jonathan will talk about their project. Those who are inclined to do so can make a free-will contribution to a fund to help them reach their goal.

Roy Stevens, Annalisa Winberg and Jonathan Khuner are all grant recipients of  the Wagner Society of Northern California William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

About the National Theater of Albania (TKOB)
2013 is the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth and the 60th anniversary of the National Theater of Albania, where for the first decades of the theater's existence, most foreign culture and music was forbidden.  In the years since the Hoxha Regime fell, the General Director of TKOB, Maestro Zhani Ciko, has diligently introduced most of the world's great composers to Albania, but has left Wagner to the last, due to the extra resources and skills required to mount Wagner's great operas.  The TKOB has adequate internal funding and resources for the basic production needs; costumes, sets, normal chorus and orchestra, Albanian soloists.  However, the hard currency for outside experts and their travel/lodging is very difficult to come by, in addition to the extra funds needed for hiring extra chorus & instrumentalists and a special commemorative program book for the audience.

-Free-will contributions are tax deductible
-The fund will be used to help the National Opera of Albania (TKOB) with the extra costs of mounting the first-ever Wagner opera in the history of the country.  These extra costs include: extra chorus, extra instrumentalists, commemorative program for the audience, travel and lodging costs for the artists who are helping to mount, direct, conduct and star in the opera, as well as training the Albanian artists, orchestra and chorus to enable future Wagner productions.

Piedmont Piano has relocated to a spacious new location in Oakland's trendy Uptown District at 18th and San Pablo Avenue. Piedmont Piano is just around the corner from Oakland's famed Fox Theater and 2 blocks from the 19th Street BART Station. There is ample street parking and also a large adjacent parking lot which charges a small fee.

Piedmont Piano has a fantastic high-ceiling salon with a raised stage for the piano, ideal for intimate music programs. The Callahan Family has a noted music program at Piedmont Piano. They host over 100 concerts per year at their store, primarily jazz music but they are moving into the classical music genre. Piedmont Piano has a showroom filled with beautiful Yamaha, Steinway, Fazoli, Mason & Hamlin and Bluthner pianos.

The photo is of Roy Stevens performing in the Albanian opera Skanderbeg.

Thursday February 28, 2013

21 Years at the Met

“21 Years at the Met, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Ring.” Erica Miner shares her experiences as a former Metropolitan Opera violinist in her intriguing talk.  Erica discusses the various periods of the composer’s development and explores Lohengrin and Siegfried in this context, illustrating with musical examples and anecdotes from her personal experiences performing the works with James Levine, Placido Domingo and other Met luminaries. Erica Miner is an author, screenwriter, poet and retired violinist for the Metropolitan Opera

Tuesday January 22, 2013

Cosima Wagner Birthday Celebration

Register Now!

We are delighted that renown pianist William Wellborn will be our musical guest and he has prepared an exciting mini-concert of piano works. Mr. Wellborn just returned from concerts in France and during this past summer in Weimar, Germany Wellborn played an all Liszt program on Liszt's piano.

The concert includes works by Scarlatti, Wagner-Liszt, Debussy and Verdi-Liszt.

This is a great opportunity to have an enjoyable afternoon socializing with your fellow Wagnerians who gather together to share stories and Wagnerian fellowship.

The sumptuous banquet will include the traditional Wagner Society welcome with an apertif of sparkling wine to set the festive mood. This is followed by a luscious meal service of: salad, your choice of entrée, dessert, coffee or tea and complimentary red and white wine at your table.

There will also be some fun and surprises and prizes - Festive attire, costume if you choose.

You may order now on-line! Reservations are due by December 1st. We would be delighted if you would join us.

Below is a PDF which you can download should you wish to register by mail.


Monday December 10, 2012

Lauritz Melchior in Context

Lauritz Melchior in Context

Lauritz Melchior was ubiquitous in US Wagner performances for 25 years, dominating the Heldentenor roles at the Metropolitan and elsewhere. Think of a Siegfried or Tristan, and you're likely to think of Melchior, who is often spoken of as if he's the only Heldentenor worth hearing. We'll listen to recordings by Melchior and by a number of older and younger tenors to get a sense of how he fits into the historical record of Wagner singing.

This presentation will be packed with musical examples - as Lisa puts it: "It will be an exercise in listening with the added perspective on the size of tenor careers and their impact."

Our speaker is Lisa Hirsch - a Wagner Society Member.  Ms. Hirsch is a technical writer for a large search engine company.  In her spare time Lisa writes music reviews for the essential Bay Area Culture Publication - San Francisco Classical Voice and she also sings with the vocal group Chora Nova.  Lisa Hirsch studied music at Brandeis University and SUNY Stonybrook.

Please note, this was originally scheduled for July 7, however due to personal scheduling changes, Lisa Hirsch has graciously agreed to move her talk to November and we really appreciate that!

Saturday November 3, 2012


WSNC Opera Marathon Weekend concludes with a Group Ticket offer to a matinee performance Moby Dick.

The San Francisco Opera has graciously made it possible for the Wagner Society Members to obtain tickets to Moby Dick at a substantial discount. The tickets will be sold exclusively through the San Francisco Opera Box Office on-line with a special ticket portal and password. This information will be made available to members very soon.

In his recent visit to the Wagner Society, Speight Jenkins noted that Moby Dick is perhaps the best new operas to come along. Jenkins noted that the music is accessable, ingratiating and the production is powerful and riveting.

The Wagner Society wants to thank the San Francisco Opera for the wonderful opera opportunities it has made available to our members.

Sunday October 21, 2012



The Wagner Society has arranged for a special group ticket offer for members. The Lohengrin tickets will be sold exclusively through the San Francisco Opera Box Office on-line, utilizing a special WSNC ticket portal. The San Francisco Opera has generously offered a substantial discount to WSNC members, not only for Lohengrin but also for I Capuleti e i Montecchi and Moby Dick. More information will be available soon.

Saturday October 20, 2012

Lohengrin Symposium - Pre-registration Closed

Pre-Registration is now closed   Seating at the JCC is limited due to facility regulations, however we still have 4 seats remaining as of Noon Friday.  We can take phone calls for these last few seats, but we cannot take walk-ins. (925)285-3690 leave a message and we will phone back.

October 20, 2012 - Lohengrin Symposium:

Symposium check-in is at 10:00

Symposium starts at 10:30 and will end at approximately 3:30, if we stay on schedule

Box Lunch is included  $55 for members $65 for non-members



Saturday October 20, 2012



tickets will be sold exclusively through the San Francisco Opera Box Office on-line utilizing a special Wagner Society ticket portal. The Opera has generously offered a substantial discount to WSNC members, Information will be available mid-June. Please mark your calendar for the performance date.

The Bellini - Wagner Connection:

“Capuleti” was regarded by such a Romantic composer as Franz Liszt as hopelessly outdated, but his son-in-law, Richard Wagner, found merit in “Capuleti’s” music.  Wagner was age 12 when Bellini died, but in time came to appreciate and defend Bellini’s melodic style of composition and bel canto singing.

In fact, Wagnerians may be surprised to know that Wilhelmine Schroeder-Devrient,  the artist who created the roles of Senta in Wagner’s “Die Fliegende Hollaender” and Venus in Wagner’s “Tannhauser”, was simultaneously a famous “Capuleti” Romeo and she created the trouser role(!) of Adriano in Wagner’s first operatic success: “Rienzi”.

Wagner was conducting "Capuleti" around the time he was composing Das Liebesverbot.

Friday October 19, 2012

Consulate Reception - Vocal Artist Marina Harris

Our Musical guest at the German Consulate will be San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Marina Harris. We are delighted to announce that Marina Harris will be available to sing a variety of Wagner scenes for us. Marina Harris is the cover for Elsa von Brabant in the upcoming performances of Lohengrin at the San Francisco Opera. Here is Ms. Harris' bio

Marina Boudart Harris, a first-year Adler Fellow, is a soprano from Los Angeles, California. Recent roles include Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera,Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, and the title role in Arabella. Miss Harris is an alumna of the 2011 Merola Opera Program, where she performed the role of Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She has also been a featured soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, and Bach’s Messe in h moll. She is a three time soloist with the Los Angeles Bach Festival and has performed works such Magnificat, Johannes-Passion, and Wachet, betet!with the Festival Orchestra and Choir. In 2010, Miss Harris was chosen as a Western Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions and was the Second Place Winner in the Finals. She was also a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Regional Finalist in 2009, and took home the Special Encouragement Award. Miss Harris was a vocal fellow at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California in 2010 where she was a student of legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. She was selected as an Encouragement Award Winner at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition in 2010 for her performance of art song repertoire. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University Long Beach in 2009 and her Graduate Certificate in Vocal Arts in 2011 from the University of Southern California.

By now members should have received an invitation to attend a reception at the Consulate of the German Republic in San Francisco. The honored guests for this reception are Maestro Patrick Summers, Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Opera and Ben Heppner, internationally renown heldentenor.

This event for members only and guests, if space permits.

Should you require information, please contact Uta Wagner (650)697-3004 or by e-mail

Thank you for your interest!

Sunday October 14, 2012

William Wellborn - Liszt in his Bicentenary Year

Fresh from his Beethoven tour of Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria - we are delighted to welcom William Wellborn to our lecture series.

William Wellborn is a highly sought-after pianist, teacher and clinician in the United States and Europe.  He has given concerts in twenty states and six countries.  Guest artist appearances include the American Liszt Society, the New Orleans Institute for the Performing Arts, the Paderewski Festival, and the Chopin Chez George Sand Festival de piano in La Chatre, France.  In the summer of 2011 he had the honor of presenting an all-Liszt program on Liszt's piano at the Liszt Museum in Weimar, Germany.  Dr. Wellborn also gave a concert in San Francisco this past year, honoring the bicentenary of Franz Liszt.

Saturday September 22, 2012

Wagner & Me - a documentary film with Stephen Fry


Due to schedule changes, we had to move Lisa Hirsch's talk about Lauritz Melchior to November, so the November program - a screening of the documentary film "Wagner & Me" will now be in July.

"Wagner & Me"

Stephen Fry is one of Britain’s best loved performers - a multi-talented actor, presenter and writer. He played the title role in the Hollywood movie Wilde and also appeared in A Fish Called Wanda and Gosford Park. On the "telly" Fry presents the cult quiz-show QI, and makes regular appearances in the hit US drama "Bones". He is much beloved for his role of the wise and witty valet Jeeves in "Jeeves and Wooster" based on the books of P. G. Wodehouse. 

Fry is a lifelong fan of the music of Richard Wagner – the world’s most controversial composer.

But Stephen is also Jewish and, as he is acutely aware, the intensity of his enthusiasm for the composer was matched - or even surpassed - by that of Hitler.

In this film Stephen makes a journey to explore his fascination for Wagner and confront his troubled legacy. Can he disentangle the music he loves from its poisonous links with Hitler? 

This was shown on the BBC in a shorter format. We will show a full 89-minute feature film with additional footage.

Wagner & Me re-unites Stephen with Wavelength Films, with whom he made the 2009 BAFTA nominated BBC film, Stephen Fry & the Gutenberg Press.


Saturday July 7, 2012

Richard Wagner 199th Birthday Celebration


Program for our event:

Part I

Die Walküre: "Ein Schwert verheiß mir der Vater"

Die Walküre: "Winterstürme"

Die Walküre: "Siegmund heiss'ich"

Part II

Parsifal: "Amfortas! Die Wunde"

Parsifal: "Nur eine Waffe taugt"

Simon O'Neill will be accompanied by Jonathan Khuner

Sunday June 10, 2012

The Alchemy of Transition

The Alchemy of Transition in Richard Wagner by Christopher Fulkerson, Ph.D.

Whether in its "unending melody" or its coordination of music and stage action, Wagner's work relies on the sense of direction that the technique of "transition" provides.  Dr. Fulkerson will read a new paper introducing this "Classical"-era technique, which critic Joseph Kerman once agreed is "the most difficult sort of music to compose."  As usual, Wagner extends a familiar sophisticated technique by using a dramatic component which clarifies and heightens its effect.

Several examples of this will be presented, including the deliberate withholding of any sense of transition for obvious purposes of dramatic characterization.  The goal will be to hear how Wagner coordinates the aspects of his art, even including, in one of his most remarkable scenes, the philosophy of Schopenhauer - specifically on the very point of "transition" as a metaphysical state.

By showing how Wagner used various kinds and degrees of transition in all components of his music dramas, Dr. Fulkerson hopes to reveal an important aspect of Wagner's musical, dramatic, and philosophical alchemy.

Dr. Christopher Fulkerson is a long-time member of the Wagner Society of Northern California and this will be his third presentation to the Society.  Fulkerson received his Bachelors Degree in Music from the Music Conservatory at University of the Pacific.  He received both his Masters and PhD from University of California, Berkeley.  Fulkerson has taught music, composition, voice, conducting and guitar and is also a composer.  He is currently working on commissions for a song cycle, a piano composition  and a composition for flute and piano.

Here is a link to a very interesting, short documentary film about Dr. Fulkerson :

Saturday June 9, 2012


The Met Opera recently announced that the entire Der Ring des Nibelungen would be shown in encore presentations in May.  The presentation of Götterdämmerung is scheduled for NOON on May 19th, in direct conflict with the Wagner Society meeting. Because of this scheduling change, the meeting was cancelled so that the Society isn't trying to conduct a meeting with very few members in attendance.

The JCC was extremely gracious and understanding of our situation and has agreed to transfer the rental payment to a future meeting. We thank the JCC for there generosity in helping us out of a critical situation.

The Wagner Society will endeavor to schedule Dr. Mary Ann Smart for the Fall of 2012.

For more information about the Met HD Encore of Der Ring des Nibelungen, please check with their website:

Photo of Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Saturday May 19, 2012

Professor Michael Hackett, School of Theater, Film and Television, University of California Los Angeles

Parsifal and Transformation:

It is impossible to separate Parsifal's psychological journey from his theatrical and musical one.  Specifically, transformation—musically, dramatically, psychologically, spiritually, geographically—is at the core of Wagner's great mystical work.  The talk will analyze the complex interconnections amongst various elements of the music and stage action that make this opera one of the greatest works of the 19th century and beyond.  It is the synthesis of these dramatic elements that is characteristic of the Wagnerian gesamtkunstwerk.

Professor Michael Hackett, Dept of Theater Arts UCLA 

Michael Hackett is a Professor of Theater at the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA and Chair of the Department of Theater. He has directed for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Royal Theatre at The Hague; the Centrum Sztuki Studio and Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw; Santa Fe Short Story Festival; Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; Los Angeles Opera (children's series); Musica Angelica; Antaeus Company; Geffen Playhouse; and twelve radio productions for LA Theater Works.

For three years, he taught at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where he co-designed and instituted a music-drama program and gave a series of lecture/demonstrations for the Royal College of Music; he has also given workshops for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and conducted Greek chorus workshops and performances from 1995 through 2006 for the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

His directing projects for the Getty Villa include Sophocles’ “Philoktetes” with Henry Goodman for the Getty Villa Theater Lab and his recent staging of the satyr play “The Trackers” also by Sophocles. The collected set of his four radio productions of plays by Oscar Wilde, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” with Charles Busch, was chosen as one of the “Best Audio Books of 2010” by the “Library Journal.”

Familiar to opera audiences in Southern California, he has lectured extensively for the Los Angeles Opera and, for these activities, he was given the 5th Annual Peter Hemmings Award by the Opera League of Los Angeles

He has a BA from Boston College and a Ph.D from Stanford University in Drama and the Humanities.

The Wagner Society is delighted to welcome Professor Hackett back.  When Hackett first visited the Society he gave a talk on the historical Hans Sachs.

Saturday April 28, 2012

Program Change - The Art and Artistry of Lotte Lehmann - Jason Victor Serinus

March 3, 2012 – PROGRAM CHANGE

The Art and Artistry of Lotte Lehmann

Thomas J. Munn will not be able to be with us in March, due to a change in his artistic schedule.  His talk will be rescheduled for the Fall.

The Society is very grateful to the local music journalist Jason Victor Serinus, who has graciously agreed to create a special program for us.   His program will feature Lehmann's vocal art from her many recordings of opera arias as well as lieder.  Mr. Serinus will provide an outline of his talk shortly.

Biographical information:  Lotte Lehmann was born in Perleberg, near Berlin in 1888.  Her stage career began in 1910 in Hamburg where she sang the role of a page in Lohengrin and her operatic continued until  to 1946 with performances at the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera.  She created the starring roles in Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Empress), Intermezzo (Christine), and Arabella and she was highly revered for her performances in the role of the Marschallin.  In Wagner she sang the roles of Irene (Rienzi), Freia, Wellgunde, Ortlinde, Gertlinde, Sieglinde, Eva, Gudrune, 3rd Norn, Wellgunde and Elizabeth, along with various Pages, Flower Maidens, Apprentices and Shepherds.  Lehmann continuted to perform concerts and lieder recitals until 1951.  However perhaps her greatest legacy was her work as a teacher.  Lehmann founded The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara in 1947 where taught Master Classes.  Lehmann taught Master Classes all over the world, made dozens of recordings, wrote text books and poetry and was also a painter.  Lotte Lehmann graced the stage of the San Francisco Opera first as Floria Tosca in 1934 and 1936 and then as Sieglinde in 1936.  Lehmann sang the role of the Marschallin for San Francisco Opera in 1940, 1941, 1945 and 1946 (for San Francisco Opera in Los Angeles 1940, 1941 and 1946 and Sacramento 1945).  Lotte Lehmann died in 1976.

From Jason:  I first discovered the voice of Lotte Lehmann on a Seraphim LP issued in 1968, in honor of her 80th birthday. I was immediately entranced by her artistry, and fell hopelessly - some would say hopefully - in love. I still am. 

Lehmann has served as one of my principal guides through the world of opera and lied, teaching me that it is possible to communicate the deepest feelings of love and longing through the human voice. When I hear her sing, I hear the heart at its most open and truthful.

Even though I have been teaching classes on vocal music for Osher Lifelong Learning at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State, and presenting opera previews for West Bay Opera, I am anything but an academic. Course outlines are not my thing. With the reality of this presentation less than a week old, I can simply assure you that, within a very packed hour, we will explore the many facets of Lehmann's artistry, using recordings made at different points in her career. We may also take a glance at one of her Master Classes. Our touchstones will include, of course, her indispensable commercial recordings of Sieglinde, supplemented by the extraordinary live performance of Die Walküre Act II in the War Memorial Opera House in 1936 and, perhaps, a later performance of the opera presented by the Met. You can also expect, at the minimum, some Schubert and Strauss. Since the afternoon is about music, not religion, we will also touch upon Lehmann's vocal shortcomings, and the brilliant way that she turned these (as much as anyone can or could) into greater opportunities for emotional expression.

To give you the finest "portable" sound possible, I am bringing the same computer-based sound system I wrote up in my "Downloading Primer" for San Francisco Classical Voice You may be amazed how good these old recordings can sound.


Jason Victor Serinus was hooked on opera before he emerged from the womb. In addition to writing about music and high-end audio for San Francisco Classical Voice (, Opera News, Opera Now, American Record Guide, Stereophile, San Francisco Magazine, Robb Report, Carnegie Hall Playbill, Stanford Lively Arts, East Bay Express, San Francisco Examiner, Bay Area Reporter,, California Magazine, and other publications, he occasionally performs as a whistler. See




Saturday March 3, 2012

Met HD - Götterdämmerung

With its cataclysmic climax, the Met’s new Ring cycle, directed by Robert Lepage, comes to its resolution. Deborah Voigt stars as Brünnhilde and Jay Hunter Morris is Siegfried—the star-crossed lovers doomed by fate.  Fabio Luisi will conduct, Levine seems to be out for a good long while.

Saturday February 11, 2012

Speight Jenkins & Remembering Steve Sokolow

The Wagner Society of Northern California is pleased to announce that Seattle Opera General Director Speight Jenkins will provide us with a preview of the 2013 Ring Cycle in Seattle.

Jenkins has engaged a wonderful of cast, some returning to roles in the Seattle Ring and others new to the produciton, this is certain to be a fantastic program with many musical examples.  Always interesting and informative, Speight Jenkins is a welcome addition to our program schedule for 2012

After Mr. Jenkins' talk, we will take time to share our memories of Steve Sokolow.  The loss of this 30-member of the Society and two-term President has taken an emotional toll on our group.  We would like you to join us in celebrating Steve's life and legacy to the Wagner Society.  As the date nears, we will ask people to sign up, should they wish to share.  Through the sign-up process we can determine timings so that everyone gets a chance to be part of the Life Celebration.

Saturday February 4, 2012

Wagner Performance at the Met

Since a production of Lohengrin in Italian in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera has presented more than 3,500 performances (more than Bayreuth) of Wagner’s operas, including the first performance of Parsifal outside of Bayreuth. There is a rich legacy of Wagner at the Met, which many of us have experienced by attending performances in New York and also enjoying various broadcasts. The history of Wagner at the Met is well documented, and as part of this lecture, Dr. Dan Sherman will present a multimedia overview of some great performances at the Met, using recordings along with contemporary reports and reviews to tell the story behind them. Using data from the Met’s  archives,  Dr. Sherman will also present statistics he has calculated on individual performers and how Wagner’s place in the Met’s repertory has changed over time.

Dan Sherman is a long-time fan of Wagner, with a particular interest in historical performances. He has compiled a large collection of recordings, along with books and other sources documenting performance and performer careers, which he will use as part of this lecture. He is Managing Economist at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington, DC.  He has given lectures to Wagner societies in Washington and New York, and has been invited to lecture the London Wagner Society later in April.

Saturday January 14, 2012

2011 Cosima Party

The Wagner Society of Northern California has formally closed registration for the 2011 Cosima Wagner Birthday

Thank you for your interest in our event.

Sincerely, The 2011 Cosima Party Social Committee

Sunday December 4, 2011

Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi - "What is Isolde Inhaling?"

Yes, you read correctly - this program will be on a Sunday.  The Wagner Society is delighted to welcome back Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi to our program schedule.  At his last talk in October 2010, Vazsonyi talked about Wagner as an icon - a brand name.   Unfortunately, because the talk was scheduled for the same day as the Met HD of Das Rheingold and so the attendance wasn't as good as we had expected.

You might be asking, "WHY Sunday?".   When preparing the schedule we could find no other available dates during the month of November.  The JCC-SF was booked solid.  And since the Professor will be in town for the American Musicological Association Convention, we decided to seize the opportunity to present a talk from this dynamic speaker.

In his talk "What is Isolde Inhaling?",  Professor Vazsonyi will take a closer look at the concluding moments of Tristan und Isolde and offer a new interpretation of the text. This will be based on a discussion of Wagner's writings on music as well as a look at clues offered earlier in the opera. Vazsonyi's talk last year was extremely interesting and provocative.  The Wagner Society is excited to have the opportunity to hear him again.

Sunday November 13, 2011

Opera - Ariadne auf Naxos

Marie Plette, Buffy Baggott and Emma McNairy star in Richard Strauss' comic opera.

Sunday November 6, 2011

Met Opera HD - Siegfried

In part three of the Ring, Wagner’s cosmic vision focuses on his hero’s early conquests, while Robert Lepage’s revolutionary stage machine transforms itself from bewitched forest to mountaintop love nest. Jay Hunter Morris has just been announced to sing the title role and Deborah Voigt’s Brünnhilde is his prize. Bryn Terfel is the Wanderer.  Fabio Luisi conducts, as James Levine is on medical leave following back surgery.

Consult your local theatre for locations screening Siegfried.

Saturday November 5, 2011

Opera - Ariadne auf Naxos

Marie Plette, Buffy Baggot and Emma McNairy star in Richard Strauss' comedy.

Friday November 4, 2011

Opera - Ariadne auf Naxos

Marie Plette, Buffy Baggot and Emma McNairy star in Richard Strauss' comic opera.

Friday November 4, 2011

Ring Productions from Post War to Present Day

"Finishing the Ring; From the "New Bayreuth Style" to Today----a Visual Exploration".

The Wagner Society is absolutely delighted to welcome Professor William Eddelman back to continue his talk about the world of art and design as it is reflected in Ring productions.  When we last left off in November, Eddelman discussed productions through the first World War.  Eddelman is busy with the production of an exhibit which will open at the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design right now, but we will soon have a more complete description of the topics he will cover.  Expect another sensational program filled with background on the cultural climate and the resulting designs and many projected images.  Eddelman was a great favorite of those who attended his last lecture, you will not want to miss this opportunity to hear him again.

Saturday October 22, 2011

Siegfried Wagner: The Last Romantic

The Wagner Society will screen a new documentary on the life of Siegfried Wagner.  This is the first documentary about the life and music of Richard Wagner's son.  It is 60 minutes in length with excerpts of his 16 operas with stage sets, pictures, projects and drawings.

The film also contains exclusive interviews with singers Giacomo Aragall and Elena Obrastova and Siegfried's son the late Wolfgang Wagner.

This is a German-Spanish coproductions with comments from people that either knew Siegfried Wagner or his work, individuals such as Arnold Schoenberg, Albert Schweitzer, Engelbert Humperdinck and Friedlind Wagner.

Saturday September 24, 2011

Performing Paris - The 1920s


In support of one of our favorite speakers, William Eddelman,  the WSNC is pleased to announce this lecture and new exhibit at the Museum of Performance and Design San Francisco

Performing Paris: The 1920s
Lecture by Professor William Eddelman

Les Années Folles -- The Crazy Years -- was how Parisians themselves described life in their city during the Jazz Era. Everyone came to Paris, where everything was happening.

Bursting with creativity and joie de vivre, Paris of the 1920s became known for its exhilarating arts and entertainment. This mix of popular culture and high art included the avant-garde ballets of the Ballets Russes and the Ballet Suedois, as well as the boulevard music halls with their bawdy revues and swinging jazz. This glittering and glamorous scene formed the backdrop for iconic performers such as Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett.

Please join Stanford Professor William Eddelman for an informative tour of this exciting cosmopolitan period, complete with film clips from the period. There will also be a special performance by vocalist/entertainer Napata Mero, who will sing some of Josephine Baker's songs.

Admission: $10 MPD members/ $15 for non-members.


Thursday September 22, 2011

Post-Ring Wrap Up

Join your fellow Wagnerians for a post-Ring wrap-up.  We will begin the meeting with Professor David Littlejohn.  Professor Littlejohn will review the 2011 San Francisco Ring and then moderate an open discussion of the Ring.  It should be an exciting meeting because we all know . . . . Wagnerians are seldom SHY about their opinons.

David Littlejohn, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, University of California Berkeley

David Littlejohn (a native son) has been attending performances of  the San Francisco Opera--and many other companies--for more than 50 years, and reviewing them (along with several other art forms) since 1967.  While teaching critical reviewing at Berkeley, he served as "Critic at Large" for television station KQED and the PBS network until 1975.  From 1980 to 1989 he reviewed the San Francisco Opera season regularly for The Times of London, and in April 1990 began a monthly report on the West Coast cultural scene for the Wall Street Journal, which he continues, and in which he covers both major California opera seasons, as well as occasional performances elsewhere.  From 1975 to 1990 he contributed one or two background essays each season to the San Francisco Opera Company's program-magazine, fifteen of which (including two on Wagner) were collected in 1992 into a book published by University of California Press (one of fourteen he has written or edited) called "The Ultimate Art:  Essays around and about Opera."  You can now read it read it free through the UC Press website.  He also serves on the Editorial Board of the WSNC publication Leitmotive

Saturday July 16, 2011

Ring Symposium #3 - The Love of Power - The Power of Love

Enhance your Ring experience and learn more about Wagner’s masterpiece. Each symposium will explore different facets of Wagner’s Ring with unique talks given by noted scholars, many of whom have lectured at the Bayreuth Festspiele. Among the topics will be the myths, legends, music, drama and literary aspects of this extraordinary work.

Check-in begins at 9:30am.
Gourmet Box Lunch is included, pre-registration is required.
Admission is $65 per person, Wagner Society of Northern California Members $55.

On-line registration available December 2010.
Each symposium is open to 200 participants.

to order see below

Symposium will be in the Vet’s Memorial Building Green Room.



Saturday July 2, 2011

Das Ende - Reservations are now closed

Das Ende Banquet - Reservations are now closed

Join the WSNC for a fantastic banquet immediately following the Cycle 2 performance of Götterdämmerung.  This is a festive way to end this spectacular week of Wagner and share the camaraderie of like-minded Wagnerians at this grand finale to the Ring.  This event is open to anyone, even if you did not go to the Ring.  And we welcome Wagner Society of Northern California Members and non-members.

Among the Special Guests in attendance:

Mark Delavan, Wotan and Wanderer

Daveda Karanas, Waltraute and Second Norn

Heidi Melton, Third Norn and Sieglinde Cycle #3

We will continue to update the site as additional RSVP's are received.

Menu includes salad, entrée, dessert and coffee and wine at the table. The price is $85 per person (price includes meal, wine, wine corkage, banquet gratuity and sales tax)


Salad:  Vine-ripened tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella and Micro Greens, Kalamata Olives and Pesto Vinaigrette

Entrees: select one entree and indicate your choice in the note field when you check-out

For multiple registrants, please list the name of each registrant and their entree selection


A)  American Kobe Flat Iron Steak, grilled with cracked peppercorns and coriander, carmelized onions, served with garlic Yukon Gold potatoes and Julienne Vegetables

B)  Grilled Salmon with Red Miso glaze, Crispy Noodle cake and pickled Asian Vegetable Slaw

C)  Vegetarian - Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with tomato and red pepper coulis and baby vegetable garnish


Dessert:   Tiramisu served with Starbuck's coffee or tea

The meal also includes red and white wine at the table.

Please join us for this festive conclusion to Cycle #2

Seating is limited so reserve early - follow the link below to order  and please remember to indicate your entrée choices at check out . . . .

Sunday June 26, 2011

Ring Symposium #2 - The Love of Power - The Power of Love

Enhance your Ring experience and learn more about Wagner’s masterpiece. Each symposium will explore different facets of Wagner’s Ring with unique talks given by noted scholars, many of whom have lectured at the Bayreuth Festspiele. Among the topics will be the myths, legends, music, drama and literary aspects of this extraordinary work.

Check-in begins at 9:30am.
Gourmet Box Lunch is included, pre-registration is required.
Admission is $65 per person, Wagner Society of Northern California Members' Admission is $55.

On-line registration available December 2010.
Each symposium is open to 200 participants.
To order - see below

Saturday June 25, 2011

The Transformation of Heroes – Siegfried and the Nibelungen through the Centuries

 Winder McConnell is a Professor of German Studies at UC Davis.  

    England has its King Arthur and St. George, France, Charlemagne and Roland, ancient Babylon, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Greece, Odysseus, Rome, Aeneas, and, in more modern times, America can boast of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. The hero appears to be part of the integral psychological make-up of society, regardless of time or place. It is no different in Germany; although heroes and the heroic enjoyed little currency in the wake of the Second World War, the “Siegfried” film, The Dark Kingdom (2004; directed by Uli Edel), emerged as the highest-rated mini-series shown on German television that year. Had Siegfried emerged again as the apotheosis of the German “national” hero?

    In his talk, Professor McConnell will look at the portrayal of the by no means unproblematic hero, Siegfried, in the Middle High German Nibelungenlied, the Old Norse analogues of the Siegfried story, the transformation of the figure into a buffoon-like character in later literary treatments of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and Wagner’s recognition of Siegfried’s ambivalent nature in his Ring. Finally, he will also give some consideration to the reception of Siegfried and the Nibelungen in extra-literary venues in the twentieth and twenty-first century, where the accent is devoid of the burlesque, so that one might speak with some justification of the “rehabilitation” of the German hero

 Parking on-site $3.50 per hour  (max $15) or the $5 UCSF lot  or  street parking 

 From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line 



Saturday May 28, 2011

Wagner Through a Jewish Lens

The Enigma of Wagner’s Genius and Anti-Semitism

Wagner Through a Jewish Lens

With Panelists:
Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University
Randy Cohen, Former author of The New York Times column “The Ethicist”
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle Music Editor

Wagner composed music of astounding beauty. He was also a virulent anti-Semite. Hitler so closely identified with Wagner that he played his operas at Nazi rallies and throughout the death camps. Is Wagner’s music inherently anti-Semitic? Can it be separated from the man? As a community, should we ban performances or try to better understand the enigmatic Wagner?

Standard: $17 Members | $20 Public | $10 Students
Premium: $22 Members | $25 Public

As a courtesy to members of the Wagner Society of Northern California, the JCC-SF will offer WSNC Members a reduced price of $17 for Standard Admission.  Please mention to the Box Office that you are a Wagner Society of Northern California member in order to obtain the discount.

The JCC-SF is an ancillary partner for the San Francisco Opera's Ring Festival 2011

Thursday May 26, 2011

Designing Wagner's Ring - An Aesthetic/Historic View (1876-2010)

DESIGNING WAGNER'S RING - The Museum of Performance and Design is the sponsor of this event
An Aesthetic/Historic View (1876-2010)

Cameo Exhibition Opening and Lecture    
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 7 PM 

Designing Wagner's Ring - a cameo exhibition opening May 24, 2011 in Gallery 3 at the Museum -- examines Ring productions with special design significance, from traditional to avant-garde.

Covering a period of more than 130 years, the exhibition of over 70 images offers a deeper "visual literacy" of the Ring and a greater appreciation of the total aesthetic experience -- the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk.

Join us for the opening of this special exhibition which will include a wine reception and a special lecture by the curator, Stanford Professor William Eddelman. The lecture will examine the visual aspects (scenery, costumes and lighting) that have reconceptualized The Ring over its entire history and employ a rich array of images and video to demonstrate how successive waves of artists have sought to reclaim and reinterpret Wagner's operas for new generations.

This exhibit is dedicated to the memory of long-time Museum of Performance and Design volunteer and patron, the late Ruth C. Jacobs.  Ms. Jacobs was also a long-time member, Board Member and benfactor of the Wagner Society of Northern California.  The Society is underwriting a portion of the cost of mounting this exhibit through a grant from the William O Cord Memorial Grant Fund.

Admission: $15 MPD Members / $20 for non-Members

enroll on-line

Tuesday May 24, 2011

Met Opera HD - Die Walküre

Wagner - Die Walküre - New Production by Robert Le Page

9:00 a.m. start, running time approximately 5 hours 30 minutes   for more information

A stellar cast comes together for this second installment of Robert Lepage’s new production of the Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Bryn Terfel is Wotan, lord of the Gods. Deborah Voigt adds the part of Brünnhilde to her extensive Wagnerian repertoire at the Met. Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek star as the twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, and Stephanie Blythe is Fricka.

James Levine; Deborah Voigt, Brünnhilde; Eva-Maria Westbroek, Sieglinde; Stephanie Blythe, Fricka; Jonas Kaufmann, Siegmund; Bryn Terfel, Wotan; Hans-Peter König, Hunding

Saturday May 14, 2011

WAGNER at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Conservatory Orchestra    Andrew Mogrelia, Conductor 

In Conjunction with the San Francisco Opera Ring Festival 2011 & Brit Week

Wagner and Elgar



Entry of the Gods into Valhalla

Siegfried's Rhine Journey

Siegfried's Funeral March


Enigma Variations

Tickets are $20; Students & Seniors $15

for more information and to order tickets visit:

Tickets may also be obtained through the Conservatory Box Office (415) 503-6275

Saturday April 30, 2011

Leitmotiv and Memory in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Leitmotif and Memory in Götterdämmerung:   Siegfried and the potion –– In his talk, Professor Grey will be applying the ideas from new fields of music cognition and perception to both our understanding of Wagner's leitmotifs as well as the way they can be said to function within the "consciousness" of characters in the operas.

Thomas Grey is a Professor of Musicology, and by courtesy, German Studies at Stanford University. 

Recalling Brünnhilde: Leitmotif and Musical Memory in Götterdämmerung
In Act 1 of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung the hero, Siegfried, is given a potion that induces a highly selective form of amnesia (“that he has ever set eyes on a woman before”).  In Act 3, an antidote is administered by the villain Hagen, causing Siegfried to confess, unwittingly, to adultery and perjury and hence to justify his death at Hagen’s hands. On the face of it, this is merely one of the more awkward plot contrivances Wagner adopted from his medieval sources.  As deployed in Wagner’s version of the story, however, the motif of Siegfried’s loss and recovery of memory provokes some fundamental questions about Wagner’s influential system of musical signification, his so-called leitmotifs.  This paper looks at what these episodes tell us about the leitmotif as a mnemonic device –– with regard to the listener’s perception of musical and dramatic structure as well as what can be inferred about the dramatic characters’ ontological awareness of themselves and their surroundings.  How might traditional modes of musical analysis and interpretations of Wagner’s drama engage with contemporary theories of musical cognition and perception?  What does leitmotif have to tell us about the role of memory in the construction of musical meaning in formal, semiotic, or other cognitive terms?   

Professor Grey received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Special fields: Wagner, 19th-century opera, history of musical aesthetics and criticism, Romantic music and visual culture. Author of Wagner’s Musical Prose: Texts and Contexts, 1995. Editor and co-author of Richard Wagner: The Flying Dutchman, 2000, and Cambridge Companion to Wagner, forthcoming. Articles and reviews in JAMS, 19th Century Music, Music Library Association Notes, Current Musicology, Opera Quarterly, Cambridge Opera Journal, Beethoven Forum, Wagner, 19th-Century Studies; Analyzing Opera, 1989; Music Theory in the Age of Romanticism, 1996; The Arts Entwined (2000); Music and German Identity, 2001; The Don Giovanni Moment (2005); International Dictionary of Opera, Revised New Grove Dictionary, and ENO Opera Handbooks. Chapters contributed to The Wagner Compendium, 1992; The Mendelssohn Companion, 2001; Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera, 2003; Cambridge History of 19th Century Music; New History Of German Literature; and Cambridge Opera Handbooks: Tristan und Isolde, forthcoming. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Musicological Society (1999-2001). Editorial/advisory board: Cambridge Opera Journal, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Wagner Spectrum.

Parking on-site $3.50 per hour  (max $15) or the $5 UCSF lot  or  street parking 

From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line 




Saturday April 16, 2011

Wesendonck Lieder of Richard Wagner

San Francisco Opera Schwabacher Debut Recital

Former Adler Fellow, mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, presents a Schwabacher Debut Recital featuring Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, accompanied by pianist Allen Perriello. The recital also includes Liszt and Heise's Gudruns Sorg.


ABOUT Ms. Karanas:

A winner of the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, American mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas has been hailed for her “capacious power” and “a voice lustrous and exciting” (San Francisco Chronicle). Ms. Karanas is a recent graduate of San Francisco Opera Center’s Adler Fellowship Program.

This season will see Ms. Karanas in her first complete ‘Ring Cycle’ at San Francisco Opera under Donald Runnicles. In Francesca Zambello’s stagings, she will sing both Waltraute and the 2nd Norn in the new production of ‘Götterdämmerung’ and Waltraute in ‘Die Walküre’. Ms. Karanas will also sing Suzuki in ‘Madama Butterfly’ and cover Amneris in ‘Aida’, both under the Nicola Luisotti at the San Francisco Opera.

Future seasons will see Ms. Karanas at the Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Oper Frankfurt, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Arizona Opera, and Seattle Opera. 

For 27 years, San Francisco Opera's Schwabacher Debut Recitals have been instrumental in launching the careers of great artists including Thomas Hampson, Susan Graham, Brian Asawa and Anna Netrebko. Another exciting group of artists will showcase their talent this spring. See them first—before they become world-famous.

Tickets are available through the San Francisco Opera Box Office $25 per person general admission.  This venue has open seating - no pre-assigned seats.  Tickets are also available at the venue on the day of the performance.


301 Van Ness Avenue (across from City Hall)
San Francisco, CA 94102


Telephone: (415) 864-3330   

Fax: (415) 626-1729

Box Office Hours

Monday 10am–5pm
Tuesday-Friday 10am–6pm
Saturday 10am–6pm during performance season

Sunday April 10, 2011

A Love Meal with Richard Wagner


Conrad Susa, Professor San Francisco Conservatory of Music, will discuss the development of Richard Wagner’s choral writing beginning with Das Liebesmahl der Apostel  - The Love-Feast of Penticost and continuing on through the opera choruses in Lohengrin and eventually Parsifal.

Richard Wagner was still reveling in his sucess with the premiere of Rienzi in December 1842 and then a less successful debut of Flying Dutchman, both in Dresden.  Wagner was among the composers commissioned to write a works for a choral festival in Dresden.  He was asked to write a choral piece celebrating the Christian feast of Penticost, the birth of the Christian Church through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The work had it's premiere on July 6, 1843 at the famed Dresdner Frauenkirche.  The performance was a massive event with 1,200 singers from all over Saxony and an orchestra numbering 100.  Although the concert was well received by the public, Wagner was disappointed, lamenting its "relatively feeble effect".  The work is rarely performed but it gives clues into Wagners early inspiration for the works that followed.

Professor Susa will give a talk about this grand choral piece with musical examples from Das Liebesmahl der Apostel and other Wagner works.

Conrad Susa (b. 1935) was resident composer for the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and served as dramaturge for the O'Neill Center in Connecticut. He also has written numerous scores for documentary films and PBS television productions, choral and instrumental works and operas (Transformations, Black River and The Love of Don Perlimplín) commissioned by the Minnesota Opera Company, San Francisco Opera and Pepsico. His church opera The Wise Women, was written for the American Guild of Organists and The Dangerous Liaisons, for the San Francisco Opera.
Mr. Susa has served as staff pianist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and as assistant editor of Musical America magazine. He has won numerous awards, including Ford Foundation fellowships, National Endowment for the Arts grants and a National Endowment Consortium grant. He earned a B.F.A. from Carnegie Institute of Technology and received an M.S. from The Juilliard School, where he studied with William Bergsma, Vincent Persichetti, and P.D.Q. Bach.

Parking on-site $3.50 per hour  (max $15) or the $5 UCSF lot  or  street parking 

From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line 




Saturday March 26, 2011

"You cannot cast the Ring today" Historical perspectives on Solti's Lament


Sir Georg Solti, famous among Wagnerians for his Decca recording of Der Ring des Nibelungen from 1958-65, asserted in his Memoirs (on the basis of a disappointing experience at Bayreuth in 1983) that “You cannot cast the Ring [today]…There are no dramatic sopranos capable of singing Brünnhilde, no Heldentenors capable of singing Siegfried, and no Wagner bass-baritones capable of singing Wotan as the parts should be sung.”  Solti’s gold standard was the cast with which he recorded the Ring—Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, and Hans Hotter.  But in their day those protagonists were found wanting by veteran listeners accustomed to the work of Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, and Friedrich Schorr.  Conversely, the recordings of those legendary singers are often greeted by current Wagner listeners with dismissive puzzlement for not attaining or even approaching modern standards—which stem, according to Solti, from an era notable for vocal inadequacy despite the immense popularity of the Ring on the operatic stages of the world.

The present talk considers issues surrounding this intergenerational dispute over taste and standards.  What are, and/or what have been, the vocal prerequisites for singers of the major roles in the Ring?  If, as Ernest Newman once wrote, no Wagner singer allows one to “have everything,” what virtues have been more plentiful or dispensable than others in different times and places?  What did singers of the distant past provide that current singers can no longer match, and what vocal practices common in earlier times sound unacceptable to today’s audiences?   This talk, filled with examples from recordings old and new, will not so much take sides in a pointless debate about which era of Wagner singing was “best”—rather, it will outline the perspectives from which it is possible to enjoy the work of Wagner singers from many generations, thereby allowing a listener to gain greater insight into the expressive potential of Wagner’s works than one might have from encountering only performances of one’s own time.

David Breckbill holds degrees in music and musicology from Goshen College (B.A.), The University of Iowa (M.A.), and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.); his area of scholarly specialization revolves around the history of musical performance styles in the age of recordings. He has spoken at conferences sponsored by the American Musicological Society, the International Musicological Society, CHARM (Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), the Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship, and Stanford University. His publications include contributions toWagner in Performance (Yale University Press, 1992), The Wagner Compendium (Thames & Hudson, 1992), the Cambridge Opera Handbook to Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (2000), 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die (Cassell, 2007), and Wagner and His World (an installment in the Bard Music Festival Series published by Princeton University Press, 2009). He has reviewed recordings for the BBC Music Magazine since 1995, and more recently has become a regular reviewer for The Wagner Journal and ARSC Journal (Association for Recorded Sound Collections). In the first half of 2006 he was an Edison Fellow at the British Library Sound Archive, and later that year held a DAAD study grant in Bayreuth compiling a detailed cast list for the early years of the Bayreuth Festival. He has worked as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Doane College (Crete, Nebraska) since 1991, where he teaches music history and serves as staff accompanist. In addition, he is a member of PianoFOURte, an ensemble that performs music for two pianos, eight hands

Parking on-site $3.50 per hour  (max $15) or the $5 UCSF lot  or  street parking 

From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line 


Saturday February 19, 2011

"Opera and Marriage in the works of Eugen d'Albert"

Educated in Great Britian, Eugen d'Albert showed early musical talent and, at the age of seventeen, he won a scholarship to study in Austria.  Feeling a kinship with German culture and music, he soon emigrated to Germany, where he studied in Weimar with the elderly Franz Liszt and began a career as a concert pianist.  A friend of Richard Strauss, Humperdinck and Pfitzner, d'Albert was heavily influenced by Richard Wagner.  d'Albert composed 21 operas the most well-known being Tiefland (1903).

Adrian Daub received his Ph.D. in May 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation focused on philosophical approaches to marriage in German Idealism and German Romanticism (“Uncivil Unions – The Metaphysics of Marriage in German Idealism and Jena Romanticism, 1794-1801”). His recent publications include “’The Abyss of the Scream’- On the Music of Hermann Nitsch” (in a volume entitled Blood Orgies: Hermann Nitsch in America), “Adorno’s Schreker – Charting the Self-Dissolution of the Distant Sound” (in Cambridge Opera Journal) and “’Donner à voir’: The Logic of the Caption in Alexander Kluge’s The Devil’s Blind Spot and W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn” (in a volume entitled Searching for Sebald).  A German-language monograph on cultural perceptions of four-hand piano music in 19th century Europe was published in 2010; Professor Daub's newest book on marriage from Kant to Nietzsche ("Uncivil Unions") will be out with the University of Chicago Press next year (2011).  

Parking on-site $3 per hour  (max $15)or the $5 UCSF lot  or  street parking 

From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line 



Saturday January 29, 2011

2010 Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner – Birthday Celebration

Musical guest soprano, Megan Cullen.  Ms. Cullen will perfom a dazzling program of arias and lieder of Richard Strauss, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner.


MEGAN CULLEN, soprano, holds degrees from Boston University and The Juilliard School and is currently studying for her Master’s at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Cesar Ulloa.  Megan sang the roles of Liù (Giocomo Puccini’s Turandot) and La Chauve-Souris (Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges), and was a National Semi-Finalist in the Orpheus Competition. She won an Honorable Mention in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Competition in January and recently sang in the Concours lyrique des pays Catalans. 

Megan will sing an exciting program of arias and lieder of Wagner, Strauss and Liszt.


Recital: Selected arias and lieder

Menu: Meal includes wine, iced tea, coffee

Baby Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette


Entrée A:
Sautéed Breast of Sonoma Chicken, topped with Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Pepper Tomato Sauce, Portabella Mushroom Ravioli & Garlic Spinach

Entrée B:
Five Spice Pork Tenderloin with Red Miso Sauce, Crispy Sesame Noodle Cake and Pickled Vegetables

Entrée C:
Vegetarian Selection

 (Upon checkout, please use the Comments box to specify your choices of Entrée)


Raspberry Almond Cheesecake

Sunday December 5, 2010

Wagner's Ring – Myths and Imagination

Myths are stories passed down through generations and are used by cultures as a way to understand the mysteries of human experience and through these stories to present inner realities. Wagner, drawing from Scandinavian and Germanic sources, created in the Ring a powerful story of fate that in its depth and complexity has allowed for a wide, varied and often contradictory range of interpretations by critics, directors and designers over the past century and a half. But these interpretations have extended beyond the operatic stages where visual artists, inspired and challenged, by the Ring have created their own unique realizations. We will explore these realizations in the works of several artists whose personal styles can placed within changing art movements from early19th century Romanticism to late 20th century comic books. Although this is really a small "footnote", we will also look briefly at the "comments and controversies" that surround a discussion of winged and horned helmets. Dr. William Eddelman is an Associate Professor, Emeritus, in the Stanford University Department of Drama, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design.

Saturday November 6, 2010



Do-it-Yourself – Purchase tickets and attend the Metropolitan Opera HD of Das Rheingold. 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (approximate timing)


Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi:  Richard Wagner – Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand. 2:00 p.m. NOTE LATE START TIME

“All modern artists have had to market themselves in some way. Richard Wagner may just have done it better than anyone else. In a self-promotional effort that began around 1840 in Paris, and lasted for the remainder of his career, Wagner claimed convincingly that he was the most “German” composer ever and the true successor of Beethoven. More significantly, he was an opera composer who declared that he was not composing operas. Instead, during the 1850s, he mapped out a new direction, conceiving of works that would break with tradition and be literally 'brand new'. This is the first study to examine the innovative ways in which Wagner made himself a celebrity, promoting himself using every means available: autobiography, journal articles, short stories, newspaper announcements, letters, even his operas themselves. Vazsonyi reveals how Wagner created a niche for his works in the crowded opera market that continues to be unique."  

Vazsonyi’s book is available on Cambridge University Press for $95 – however, because of the very high cost it will NOT be carried in the WSNC Book Stall

Parking on-site $3 per hour (max $15) or the $5 UCSF lot or street parking.
From the East Bay:  BART to Embarcadero and transfer to the MUNI #1 California line. 


Saturday October 9, 2010

The Inspection of a Century: Wagner’s Ring in Kassel


At Staatstheater Kassel a tradition of staging Wagner's "Ring" has long been established. In the early seventies producer Ulrich Melchinger introduced a Wallstreet atmosphere and the forms and colors of pop art to the sphere of the "Ring". In the eighties Siegfried Schoenbohm took up the tetralogy. This "Ring" went through many centuries and different styles.

Michael Leinert's "Ring", produced within two seasons (1997–1999), continued this specific Kassel dramaturgy of presenting the "Ring" from a modern point of view. Leinert’s interpretation of the "Ring" represented "one hundred years of German history".

Wagnerian soprano Susan Owen-Leinert (Brünnhilde) presents together with her husband an insightful look at this exciting Ring production of Staatstheater Kassel with numerous video and audio excerpts.


Saturday September 11, 2010

Sword of Xanten

Originally broadcast on the Sci-Fi channel as Dark Kingdom—the Dragon KingSword of Xanten is director Uli Edel’s take on the Volsung Saga.  Starring Benno Führman (Siegfried), Kristanna Loken (a very sexy Brunnhild), Max von Sydow (Evyind), Alicia Witt (Kriemhild) and Julian Sands (Hagen), the production team didn’t hold back on special effects, spectacle, lavish costumes, giants and a fearsome dragon.  This is the unedited version of the film with a running time of approximately 3 hours.  This film has been released world-wide under many titles including: Curse of the Ring, Die Niebelungen—Der Flucht des Drachen, La saga dei Nibelunghi, Kingdom in Twilight and The Ring

(PG-13 – violence & brief sexuality)


Saturday July 24, 2010