Announcing Fall 2017 Opera Lecture Series

Wagner for UW

with Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera, Emeritus

Richard Wagner strode the musical world like a colossus between 1880 and at least 1914. Conservatives decried his work as ugly, unmusical, and terrible for voices. Many young music lovers and his disciples worshiped him as a musical god. Such major later composers as Igor Stravinsky reacted negatively to his work but even in his rejection underlined Wagner’s importance. Where Wagner erred was in his polemics. Frankly anti-Semitic and a Francophobe, he became poison to many especially during and after the Third Reich.

The course will discuss the personality of the composer, one of the intellectual giants of his century, through his very autobiographical music. We will not just explore the ten works of his maturity with selections from live performances and also his three early, rarely performed operas but discuss the difference in style of singing from his time until ours, the change in productions of his work, why Tristan und Isolde had a profound effect on all that followed (including works by supposed foes of Wagner), and why and how The Ring of the Nibelung, the most complicated and expensive opera event to produce, has become among the best box-office of the twenty-first century.

Fall 2017 – Five Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
September 20
September 27
October 4
October 11
October 18