Posted March 01, 2011

Ok, I skipped February. Sorry. And I apologize if you wrote to me and I haven’t responded. I’m just not a multi-tasker. It’s been so busy on this end rushing trying to purchase a condo in the East Bay, and all the stuff that goes along with it. And then – after all that – it fell apart because of a deal-breaker that showed up in the inspection. So we start the looking all over.  Sigh… I’m still hoping that in a couple of months we’ll be Bay Areans once again. Mendocino has many scenic beauties, but it’s so remote from the metro SF goings-on that we enjoy. 

Most of you probably know that our beloved Verna Parino, past president of the WSNC and tireless worker for Marin Guild and Opera Guild Int’l, was hospitalized.  She was in rehabilitation at Smith Ranch Care and was due to be released to her home last weekend.  She still has plans for the Shanghai Ring in 2014! Go, Verna!


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WSNC March, 2011 Meeting



“A Love Meal with Richard Wagner”

Conrad Susa, Composer and Professor at the SF Conservatory of Music.


Professor Susa, will discuss the development of Richard Wagner’s choral writing beginning with Liebesmahl den Apostel and continuing on through the opera choruses.


Saturday March 26th at 1:00 pm


3200 California St@ Presidio, San Francisco

Donation: $10 for non-members


For more information, please visit the home page calendar or the schedule page on this site


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WSNC Ring Symposia and Banquet


The Wagner Society will host one symposium per cycle with speakers and cast members. A festive “Das Ende” banquet will be held after the 2nd cycle Götterdämmerung performance.


Symposia: June 18, June 25 and July 2


Das Ende Banquet:   June 26


Terri Stuart reports on brisk sales of Symposium tickets: “over 20% of the available tickets are sold and orders are being processed daily”.


For more information and to order tickets, please visit:

The home page calendar, events page or special events pages on this site


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Wagner Class & Exhibition


The Museum of Performance and Design is pleased to announce a special three-week class in conjunction with the San Francisco Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring cycle. The class will meet Monday evenings in May (May 9, 16, and 23) from 7:00-8:50 at the Museum (401 Van Ness, Fourth Floor, San Francisco).


Designing Wagner’s Ring:

An Aesthetic/Historic View

(1876 – 2010)


This three-week class will examine Wagner’s concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) as reflected in the visual aspects (scenery, costumes and lighting) that have reconceptualized the Ring over 134 years. Using selected productions that reflect stylistic changes and viewpoints, we will be tracing aesthetic interpretations of the Ring from the traditional to the most avant-garde. Class participants will gain a deeper understanding of Wagner’s masterpiece and, with this new “visual literacy,” a greater appreciation of the total aesthetic experience of the Ring.


Schedule of Lectures








Professor William Eddelman (Instructor) is an Associate Professor Emeritus of the Stanford University Drama Department. He was a member of the 1965 Master Classes at Bayreuth and taught at Stanford from 1970-2009. He received his PhD (in Theatre History and Design) from Stanford University, and has taught numerous classes in theater history, art history, musical theatre, cultural history, costume and scenic design, and the psychology of clothes. Prof. Eddelman is an expert in international theatrical design and most recently lectured on “Myths and the Imagination: Artists Interpret Wagner’s Ring Cycle” for the Wagner Society of Northern California. At MPD, he co-curated the exhibition ”Art and Artifice: Designs for San Francisco Ballet” and curated their current exhibition “Toy Theatres: Worlds in Miniature.”


The cost for the three-week class is $60 for MPD Members,

and $90 for non-Members.

For more information about MPD membership,

please visit


The class will meet Monday evenings in May (May 9, 16, and 23) from 7:00-8:50 at the Museum. Class size is limited to 50; if there is sufficient interest, the Museum may offer a second “repeat” class on Tuesday evenings.


ALSO…a Wagner Exhibit


On June 6, the Museum will be opening an exhibit that parallels and complements the class. The exhibit is in two parts:


The Ring in San Francisco, from the first Ring presented in San Francisco in 1900 (by the Metropolitan Opera on tour) and the San Francisco Opera productions of 1935-36, 1972, 1985 and the current Ring of 2011; and


The Ring Internationally, with highlights of Ring designs from 1876 to 2010.


This event is underwritten in part by a William O. Cord Memorial Grant Fund in memory of WSNC board member Ruth C. Jacobs, Ms. Jacobs was a volunteer at the Museum of Performance and Design and the MoPAD is also dedicating the exhibit to her memory .


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For a Lohengrin that seems to be minus directorial ego, this traditional production will be around for another week. It looks and sounds great.


ChicagoLyric Opera Lohengrin

through March 8, 2011


You can visit Lyric’s web site for a video of the opulent production.


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Schwabacher Debut Recital

TempleEmanuEl – Martin Meyer Sanctuary

2 Lake Street@ Arguello

San Francisco94118


“Wesendonck Lieder”

Daveda Karanas, mezzo-soprano

April 10th at 5:30 pm


Terri says, “she (Ms. Karanas) was the fabulous mezzo who sang for the WSNC at the Consul General Party on a moment’s notice as Heidi Melton was called to sing the Verdi Requiem – don’t miss this.  The amazing Allen Perrillo will accompany”.


Purchase tickets through the San Francisco Opera Box Office

301 Van Ness Avenue(across from SF City Hall) or online

Tickets are $25 and the venue is open seating

There are same-day rush tickets for students only


More information check the WSNC events page or the calendar on the WSNC home page


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SOLD 3-1-2011  Thelma Dry had a Cycle #1 Das Rheingold ticket was for sale (June 14th) – but some lucky person purchased it on March 1st.  

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Upcoming Met HD


Walküre in May 14, 2011

Siegfried this Fall – Gary Lehman  (Long Beach Ring, LA Parsifal, Met Tristan) will sing the title role- the early buzz is that this will be shown  in 3D – HD

Götterdämmerung coming February 11,  2012


Check your local theaters for more information


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News from Bayreuth via Deutsche Welle


The 100th Richard Wagner Festival next year will feature a new production of “Tannhäuser” directed by Sebastian Baumgarten and with Thomas Hengelbrock as conductor. 2013 will also bring a new staging of Wagner’s masterpiece, “The Ring of the Nibelung,” to mark the composer’s 200th birthday. The stage director for that production has yet to be announced, but Kirill Petrenko of Russia is set to conduct the orchestra.


Plans are also underway to debut three of Wagner’s early operas in Bayreuth (“The Fairies,” “The Ban on Love” and “Rienzi”), not in the festival hall but in a tent elsewhere in the town.


Katharina Wagner said her aim is to bring Bayreuth “eventually to the absolute cutting edge of Wagner productions.”


(Update to the above: the inside scoop is that Katharina Wagner has signed award-winning film director Wim Wenders to direct the bicentennial Ring.)


Bayreuth Festival closes with tribute to director Schlingensief | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 30.08.2010


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February meeting wrap-up from Terri Stuart:


David Breckbill’s talk on Saturday was really interesting and we had at least 65-70 in attendance.  He explained who, how, what, and when we hear something has a great deal to do with our development of vocal favorites.  As part of the program Breckbill played the first part of Wotan’s Farewell sung by 5 Wotans from Anton van Rooy through to James Morris.  It was remarkable to note the differences in the pitch, emotional content, diction, sense of style, phrasing and connection to the text.  In the end the definition of who is the “best” is up to the listener.  In thinking back to some of the wonderful not-so-well known Wotans, possibly never on record in my past:  Monte Pedersen, Alan Titus, Clayton Brainerd and Richard Paul Fink spring to mind.

Long-time WSNC member Lisa Burkett was mightily impressed by the talk and commented, “He’s (Breckbill) just as good as ever.”  Some members may recall that Professor Breckbill was a WSNC member and lecturer when he was a grad student at UC Berkeley.


(I attended one of his talks in the mid-80s when he presented an analysis of the “Bayreuth Bark” with copious hundred year-old musical examples.  Very interesting; I was sorry to miss this talk.  – Trish)


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Final Farewells…


Dame Margaret Price  13 April 1941 – 28 January 2011


Although she wasn’t a Wagnerian, she did sing scrumptious Mozart and Verdi at the SFO from 1969-1983 and has a place in SF opera history as the soprano who sang Desdemona on opening night of the 1983 season. That was the year that the Otello lost his voice the morning of the production and Terry McEwen flew Placido Domingo in from New York by helicopter and private jet to take over. They rushed him from SFO to the War Memorial by limo accompanied by SFO staff who brought along photos of the scenes so Domingo would have some idea of how the staging would go. Domingo arrived at the Opera house to great fanfare, the performance began at 10:00 pm and the audience, not to mention the media, went wild. See a compilation of news clips here:


Thanks to OperaBobb for providing this nostalgic link. Also, a number of clips of Ms Price can also be found on YouTube, including a gorgeous, compelling “Dove Sono” she sang at Opera in the Park the Sunday following that memorable opening night.



And here’s an obit from the NY Times


Margaret Price Dies at 69, Soprano With Rich Voice –


And don’t forget to visit and POST on the Wagner Society Forum – keep us posted on Wagner News you may hear or share your thoughts