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Ring Forum – Ring Cycle #1

June 16, 2018 - 5:00 am - 10:30 am

Featured Speakers:

Peter Bassett 

Desirée Mays 

Simon Williams

LINK TO ORDER RING FORUM TICKETS:    https://sfopera.com/ring/planyourring/ring-festival/ring-cycle-forum/

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

Title: Wagner’s Theatres

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

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

Title: Das Ende: The Endings of The Ring

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

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

Title: The ‘Deep State’ of The Ring

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

A Panel Discussion follows the talks.

Gourmet Box Lunch is included in registration fee

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

LINK TO ORDER RING FORUM TICKETS:    https://sfopera.com/ring/planyourring/ring-festival/ring-cycle-forum/

Ring Cycle #1 Speaker Bios:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




June 16, 2018
5:00 am - 10:30 am


San Francisco Opera and The Wagner Society of Northern California

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