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Will Berger – Technology, Opera and Wagner

June 1, 2019 - 8:00 am

The Wagner Society of Northern California is pleased to welcome back Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcaster Will Berger.

Berger will talk about a topic he has been researching: how technology affects music – what we like, what we think we should like and what we dislike. The subject ranges around the globe and from the ancients to the very latest in gadgetry… and yet Wagner keeps coming up all throughout the narrative.

Berger will discuss how technology and material considerations of the day affected what Wagner wrote (ie., how different is Parsifal from previous works, and how much of that is a function of logistics and technical realities of his day), and how Wagner’s art and thought in turn affected subsequent technology (eg., movies, the recording industry, sound engineering).

What emerges is a vast picture of our relationship to music today, and of how deeply – and surprisingly – Wagner is a part of that.

William Berger grew up in Los Angeles in a bilingual (Spanish and English) and multicultural (Mexican, Italian, and Jewish) home where everyone listened to opera and had strong opinions about it. After spending time during his teen years in various places around the U.S. and Europe, he earned degrees in Latin and Italian Literature at University of California at Santa Cruz. During college, Berger got his first taste working in the opera world at the San Francisco Opera in various capacities, including merchandising and translating for artists who didn’t speak English. In 1984, Will moved to New York, worked in architecture/design, taught Romance Languages at Baruch College and became a constant presence in audience of the Metropolitan Opera. 

Berger has worked at the Metropolitan Opera since 2006 as a writer, producer, and on-air commentator with host Margaret Juntwait, for the live, weeknight broadcasts on Met Opera Radio. He is also a writer and producer for the Metropolitan Opera’s famed Quiz, heard as part of its live, international Saturday broadcasts. His recent articles have appeared in the publications of the opera companies of Seattle, Washington D.C., and Barcelona’s Theatre de Liceu.

Widely published, Berger’s publications include:  Wagner Without Fear, Verdi With a Vengeance, and Puccini Without Excuses, (Vintage Books), and the tribute “Chris De Blasio” in Loss Within Loss: Artists in the Age of AIDS (University of Minnesota Press).


This meeting is free to WSNC Members. Suggested $10.00 donation for non-members



3200 California Street – 2nd Floor Gallanter Hall

San Francisco, CA





June 1, 2019
8:00 am - 11:00 am

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