The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest

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These are events organized by the Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest. See Other Organizations for announcements from Wagner societies, opera houses, and other organizations.

Upcoming Events

    • 12 Mar 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (CST)
    • Registrants will be sent details for how to join the premiere the day before the event.
    • 36
    Register

    Music in Action: Premiere and Talkback with Victoria Vargas and Eric McEnaney

    Mezzo Soprano Victoria Vargas, 2020 Music in Action grant award winner, and pianist Eric McEnaney present a recital based on female and LGBTQIA+ composers. The program features music from composers Paolo Prestini, whose work Edward Tulane, with libretto by Mark Campbell, was scheduled to premiere for Minnesota Opera in the spring of 2020 (postponed due to Covid-19), Minnesota composer Carol Barnett, Kala Pierson, and Ricky Ian Gordon, with words by Royce Vavrek, Marg Walker, Coretta Scott King, Mitch McConnell, Jane Kenyon, Jean Valentine and Marie Howe. As part of the Music in Action grant, this recital will also be featured as part of OutFront Minnesota's virtual youth summit where students of the LGBTQIA+ community will have an opportunity to speak with Victoria and Eric about their lives and experiences as musicians and members of the queer community.

    Please join us for an interactive "talkback" Q&A session with Ms. Vargas and Mr. McEnaney following their performance.

    About Music in Action: Music in Action is a new project grant program funded entirely by The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest. The program is designed to provide financial support for local musicians, while addressing the greater need for hope, healing, and community exposed by the killing of George Floyd.

    About Victoria Vargas: Mezzo-soprano Victoria Vargas opera credits include singing over twenty roles for the Minnesota Opera and performance with Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera, Ash Lawn Highland Festival and others.

    Equally comfortable in concert work, Mrs. Vargas has sung with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (NY), Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (MN), Mankato Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, St. Cloud Orchestra, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Wayzata Symphony, La Jolla Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra.

    Ms. Vargas has placed seven times at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at both the district and regional levels. She also placed in the Schubert Club competition, and was a finalist in the Irene Dalis Vocal Competition for Opera San Jose.

    This spring Ms. Vargas’ can be seen singing the role of Florence Pike in Albert Herring for Minnesota Opera, as well as performing with the Minnesota based organization An Opera Theater (AOT).

    Mrs. Vargas has served on faculty at the MacPhail Center for Music and Carleton College. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Minnesota.


    About Eric McEnaney: 

    Eric McEnaney enjoys a multifaceted career as one of America’s foremost opera pianists and vocal coaches, having assisted on the musical preparation of more than 100 productions for companies throughout the country. He is currently a Master Coach for Minnesota Opera and has worked as a guest coach for such companies as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Central City Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Southwest, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Skylark Opera, and Lyric Opera of the North, among others. Additionally, Dr. McEnaney served as Principal Production Pianist & Coach at Florentine Opera Company for four seasons, where he oversaw the musical preparation of a dozen shows and two world premiere recordings, Robert Aldridge's Sister Carrie and Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players.

    As a recitalist, Dr. McEnaney has appeared with singers from the rosters of the nation's leading opera companies. He serves as an official accompanist for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in the Minnesota and Wisconsin districts and has worked as an orchestral keyboardist with Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Civic Symphony, and the orchestras of Minnesota Opera and Central City Opera. His performances have been broadcast locally and nationally on PBS, Great Performances, American Public Media, Minnesota Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio, Twin Cities Public Television, KSTP-TV's Twin Cities Live, and WCCO-TV's Mid-Morning. He has assisted many of the most renowned vocal artists of our time in masterclasses and private coachings.

    A dedicated advocate for the creative training of singers, Dr. McEnaney is the co-founder and Music Director of Opera Reading Project, a Twin Cities-based role reading series that serves as a professional-level music preparation tool for aspiring artists. Many of his clients appear onstage with the region’s most prominent companies and his students are regularly accepted into leading summer festivals, year-round training programs, and collegiate institutions.

    Dr. McEnaney is an alumnus of young artist programs at Music Academy of the West, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Minnesota Opera, where he worked four seasons as Resident Artist Coach/Accompanist. He holds advanced degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano and maintains a private coaching studio in Minneapolis, where he also resides.

    More information can be found at www.ericmcenaney.com

    • 29 Mar 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (CDT)
    • Zoom (a link will be sent the day before the event)
    • 49
    Register

    A Conversation with Christine Goerke

    March is Women's History Month, so what better time to have an engaging conversation with Christine Goerke, aka "Heldenmommy," one of the world's leading dramatic sopranos?

    Central to this year's Art vs. Artist programming theme is the question:

    How do we reconcile the work of an artist with a life and legacy that includes elements which sometimes profoundly challenge our contemporary values? 

    Please join us as Ms. Goerke discusses what it's like to sing major roles in the world's great opera houses. You're sure to enjoy her perspectives on:

    • portraying Wagnerian women
    • personal challenges such as balancing family and the travel demands required to perform all over the world
    • performing in a parking garage ("Parkingdämmerung")
    • and how technology is changing performance requirements.

    There will be ample opportunity for Q&A with Ms. Goerke as well!

    • 14 May 2021
    • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (CDT)
    • Registrants will be sent details for how to join the premiere the day before the event.
    • 55
    Register

    Music in Action: Premiere and Talkback with Mark Billy and Alexandra Razskazoff

    Violence in Verdi and Verismo is a musical-narrative program addressing the oppression and brutality mirrored between the characters of Verdi and Verismo operas and in the untold stories of the Native American community. Soprano Alexandra Razskazoff and baritone Mark Billy, 2020 Music in Action grant award winner, join their vocal forces for a program of duets and arias from Verdi and Verismo composers.

    Please join us for an interactive "talkback" Q&A session with Mr. Billy and Ms. Razskazoff following their performance.

    About Music in Action: Music in Action is a new project grant program funded entirely by The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest. The program is designed to provide financial support for local musicians, while addressing the greater need for hope, healing, and community exposed by the killing of George Floyd.

    • 23 May 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM (CDT)
    • Zoom (a link will be sent the day before the event)
    • 55
    Register

    A Conversation with Andrew Whitfield: Wagner, The Revolutionary

    Central to this year's Art vs. Artist programming theme is the question:

    How do we reconcile the work of an artist with a life and legacy that includes elements which sometimes profoundly challenge our contemporary values? 

    Please join us as Minnesota Opera's Associate Conductor and Chorus Master, Andrew Whitfield, takes us on an exploration of Wagner's political legacy as a revolutionary.

    Although Wagners' operas have been coopted by various ideologies, from the Bolsheviks to the Nazis, for their political gain, his personal politics were often self-contradictory and didn't embrace the existing dogmas of political thought that were circulating in the 19th century. However, early writings, as well has his involvement in the Dresden uprising, paint a picture of a young Wagner who, like the rest of Europe, was becoming more conscious of the vast inequality between the elite and the working classes. In this lecture, we will examine Wagner the revolutionary, and how his politics manifested in the Ring Cycle.

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