Event Archives

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 usBachtrack.com, 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. http://www.ericaminer.com

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

Saturday March 21, 2015

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Academia.edu: 



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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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    www.overtonefilms.org

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

Ship-Black Sails.

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

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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 Uwagner@pacbell.net.

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

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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

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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

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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: http://americanlisztsociety.net/

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:  http://americanlisztsociety.net/2013Conference.php

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

Ring World.

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

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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

Saturday January 12, 2013

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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.


Sunday December 9, 2012

Marines Memorial Club - Crystal Ballroom

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

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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

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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 uwagner@pacbell.net

Thank you for your interest!

Sunday October 14, 2012

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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

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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

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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

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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 : http://vimeo.com/43129592

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

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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

A Parsifal Image.jpg

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 http://www.sfcv.org/article/downloading-primer-how-to-get-the-most-from-your-clicks-0. 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 (sfcv.org), 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, hometheaterhifi.com, California Magazine, and other publications, he occasionally performs as a whistler. See http://www.jasonserinus.com




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

Speight Jenkins.jpeg

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

1-Old Met.jpg

2011 Cosima Party

The Wagner Society of Northern California

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

A very very small Diana.JPG

Concert - The Ring Without Words - West Coast Premier

Redwood Symphony

Join the Redwood Symphony for a performance of "The Ring Without Words" Lorin Maazel's 70-minute reduced transcription of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibleungen for orchestra.  Super titles will carry you through the action.  Pianist Daniel Glover will also perform Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

Tickets are $20 advance for adults; Students $10

There is a Student special - Students Under 17 - FREE

for more information:  http://www.redwoodsymphony.org/concerts/2011-12/concert2-2011.html

Saturday November 19, 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

West Edge Opera

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

Jay Hunter Morris.jpg

Opera - Ariadne auf Naxos

West Edge Opera

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

Friday November 4, 2011

Opera - Ariadne auf Naxos

West Edge Opera

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

Sunday October 30, 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

Rosalie-Kirchner Ring

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

Siegfried & Mom.jpg

Performing Paris - The 1920s

Museum of Performance and Design 401 Van Ness Avenue 4th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102


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

David Littlejohn, Professor Emeritus of Journalism, University of California Berkeley, Wall Street Journal Literary and Arts Writer

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

Die Walküre.jpg
U.C. Berkeley

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

Jeffrey Buller, Dean, Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University "Roads Scholar: Pilgrimages, Quests and Homecomings in Wagner's Ring"
Simon Williams, Professor and Chair, Department of Dramatic Art University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California "Alberich's Curse: The Tragedy of Fear"
Christopher Weimer, Professor of Foreign Lanaguage Oklahoma State Univeristy, Stillwater, Oklahoma "From Calderòn's Caveman to Wagner's Wolsungs: Classical Spanish Theater and the Ring"
Kip Cranna, Director of Musical Administration San Francisco Opera Cranna will moderate a Musical Round Table with artists and musicians from the San Francisco Ring production

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

Daveda Karanas
Delavan as Wotan
Heidi Melton.jpg

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

Hans Rudolph Vaget, Professor Emeritus of German Studies Smith College, Northampton, MA "The Ring" in Bayreuth and Beyond
Jeffrey Buller, Dean, Wilkes Honors College Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida "The Eyes Have it: Glances, Glimpses and Glimmers in Wagner's Ring"
John Lindow, Professor of Scandinavian Studies University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA "Nordic Myths of Ragnarøk and Wagner's Götterdämmerung"
Kip Cranna, Director of Musical Administration San Francisco Opera Cranna will lead a Round Table of artists and musicians from the San Francisco Ring Production

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

 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

Winder McConnell

Wagner Through a Jewish Lens

Jewish Community Center - San Francisco

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  www.mpdsf.org

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

http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_next.aspx   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

Debbie Brunnhilde.jpg

WAGNER at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

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:     www.sfcm.edu

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

Saturday April 30, 2011

Andrew Mogrelia, Conductor

Leitmotiv and Memory in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Thomas Grey, Professor of Musicology at Stanford University

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

Thomas S. Grey

Wesendonck Lieder of Richard Wagner

Daveda Karanas - Schwabacher Recital - 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

Daveda Karanas

A Love Meal with Richard Wagner

Conrad Susa, Composer and Professor, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


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

Conrad Susa

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

David Breckbill, Adjunct Professor of Music, Doane College, Crete Nebraska


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

Dr. David Breckbill

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

Adrian Daub is an Assistant Professor of German Studies at Stanford University

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

Adrian Daub

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

Dr. Bill Eddelman

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



Professor Nicholas Vazsonyi


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

N. Vazsonyi

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

Professor Susan Owen-Leinert
Michael Leinert

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