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Wagner in a Time of Political Stress – With William Berger

July 18, 2020 - 8:00 am

WEBINAR: “Wagner in a Time of Political Stress” – What can we as Wagnerians learn from current events and what can our world and era learn from our experience as Wagnerians?

This is a time of political stress in that long-held assumptions are being reexamined. Language is reflecting this. We who struggle (or should) with the most politically volatile artist of all time can learn from the current narrative. We who have struggled (or should have) with the most politically volatile artist of all time, have experience we can share with those who are now struggling (on every side) with our national iconography.

Our webinar guest, William Berger, will look at Wagner’s works (especially Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Der Ring des Nibelungen), productions – that is, interpretations – of his works (briefly, because that’s a whole world of its own), and, mostly, what people have said to define and misdefine them from his day to our own. By examining the course of Wagnerism in the light of current events, we can elevate the discussion beyond its current stalemate between two untenable camps [i.e., the “cancellers” one the one hand and the “art should be apolitical” crowd on the other] and, in the process, share our discoveries with our divided nation.

Our webinar guest is William Berger. Born in California in1961,  Berger studied Romance languages and musicology at the University of California Santa Cruz. For five years he worked in the San Francisco Opera, being responsible for acquiring company’s records collection. As author, he wrote such books on music and operatic composers as: Wagner Without Fear (1998), Verdi With a Vengeance (2000), Puccini Without Excuses (2005), all published by Random House, and more recently Speaking of Wagner: Talking to Audiences abouth Der Ring des Niebelungen, on Academia Press. He has also written opera libretti and articles on religion and architecture.

Berger fequently gives lectures on operatic music and composers, and is also a radio commentator and has recently been a regular host for New York Public Radio’s Overnight Music and WNYC radio. Since creation of the Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius in the Fall of 2006, Berger writes all the commentaries heard during entractes of historical broadcasts. Berger is currently often a co-host during live Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and is often the moderator of those broadcasts’ Met Opera Quiz.

To attend this Zoom webinar participants will need to pre-register – for registration information, please e-mail the Society at WagnerSocNC@gmail.com, registration links will be provided. This webinar is free of charge.


July 18, 2020
8:00 am - 9:30 am


The Wagner Society of Northern California – 2020 Webinar Series

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