San Francisco Opera's Ring Festival Programs Continue Through 7/1
Complementing the highly-anticipated performances of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House (June 12-July 1), San Francisco Opera presents its ongoing Ring Festival of ancillary events and activities. Designed to deepen public engagement and provide informative, fun ways to explore Wagner's profound masterwork, the Ring Festival offers a diverse schedule of lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, musical programs and opportunities to hear from artists, production team members and Wagner experts.
A vast musical and dramatic spectacle of gods, mortals, corruption and redemption, Wagner's Ring cycle is titanic in scope: four operas lasting 17 hours and performed over the course of a week. With capacity audiences anticipated for the performances, San Francisco Opera has partnered with cultural institutions and local businesses to facilitate an all-encompassing Ring experience for ticket holders and the public. To accommodate the early curtain times, local restaurants will open early for dinner and, within the Opera House, a variety of new beverage and food options will be offered for the enjoyment of audiences.
Whether a family with children who are curious about the Ring's mythic creatures or a globe-trotting Ring enthusiast who attends productions of the cycle around the world, the Ring Festival has something for everyone. Highlights of the pre-cycle Festival calendar include a May 21 public discussion at the Commonwealth Club featuring director Francesca Zambello and San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock and Ring Community Day on June 9 which offers interactive Ring-focused activities for children of all ages, including "Teething Ring" for families with children ages 2-5.
During each cycle in June, the Festival events are concentrated at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, beginning with Ring 101, an introductory overview with Company Dramaturg Dr. Clifford "Kip" Cranna and including a multimedia presentation about the history of the Ring in San Francisco from 1900-2018; Ring Symposiums showcasing the artists of the cycle in panel discussions; screenings of the Academy-Award-nominated film Sing Faster-The Stagehands' Ring Cycle; the San Francisco Opera Chorus in concert singing choral works by Carl Maria von Weber and Wagner; and a series of Ring Forums, presented in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Northern California, offering in-depth explorations of the Ring by distinguished Wagner experts.
Throughout the cycles, an exhibition of photographs and archival materials documenting the history of the Ring in San Francisco will be on view within the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House. An installation of materials in the John M. Bryan Education Studio at the Wilsey Center for Opera will explore the resonance of Wagner's Ring in popular culture, including artwork from comics creator
P. Craig Russell's graphic novel adaptation in collaboration with the Cartoon Art Museum.
Ring Festival community partners include the Asian Art Museum, Cartoon Art Museum, The Commonwealth Club, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Wagner Society of Northern California.
For a complete schedule of Ring Festival events, visit sfopera.com/ringfestival.
Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)
Encompassing four operas-Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung-Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) cycle is a masterpiece of mythic drama and musical storytelling that is unparalleled in the history of the performing arts. San Francisco Opera presents three complete Ring cycles June 12-July 1 in the acclaimed production by American director Francesca Zambello with an international cast of leading Wagnerian artists, including Iréne Theorin (Brünnhilde), Greer Grimsley (Wotan), Daniel Brenna (Siegfried), Karita Mattila (Sieglinde), Brandon Jovanovich (Siegmund and Froh), Falk Struckmann (Alberich), Jamie Barton (Fricka, Waltraute and the Second Norn) and many others, under the baton of esteemed conductor Donald Runnicles.
TICKETS AND DINING OPTIONS
For tickets to individual performances and complete cycles, visit sfopera.com, call (415) 864-3330 or visit the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. Box Office hours are Monday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
San Francisco Opera, in partnership with Patina, will offer expanded menus and additional options, including pre-order boxed meals, for all dining within the War Memorial Opera House on performance dates. Reservations are recommended for Café at the Opera House and the North Box Restaurant. "Brünnhilde's Biergarten" will serve authentic variety of local beers and German fare like bratwursts and soft pretzels on the outdoor loggia and the intermission bars on all levels of the Opera House will offer a variety of snacks and refreshments. For more information or to make dinner reservations, visit sfopera.com/where-to-eat. For dining recommendations close to the Opera House and listing of restaurants opening early to accommodate Ring-goers, visit sfopera.com/ring/ringdining.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue. The Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater and John M. Bryan Education Studio are in the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue. Patrons are encouraged to use public transportation to attend San Francisco Opera performances and Ring Festival events. The War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building are within walking distance of the Civic Center BART Station and near numerous bus lines, including 5, 21, 47, 49 and the F Market Street. For further public transportation information, visit bart.gov and sfmta.com.
2018 RING FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
PREPPING FOR WAGNER'S RING
Wednesday, May 16, 1-2 p.m.
As San Francisco Opera prepares to present its acclaimed production of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle, Company Dramaturg Dr. Clifford "Kip" Cranna takes guests on a whirlwind introductory journey into the work with audio and video examples illustrating its musical and dramatic highlights. Admission is free. More information and registration available at jccsf.org.
OVERTURE WORKSHOPS FOR ADULTS: DRINKS & DRAMA: EVERYTHING BUT THE RING
Saturday, May 19, 2:30-4 p.m.
The Sea Star, 2289 3rd Street, San Francisco
Raise a glass! San Francisco Opera's popular Drinks & Drama returns with an exploration of Wagnerian opera paired with specialty cocktails concocted by mixologists from San Francisco's The Sea Star in the Dogpatch neighborhood. Photographs and video clips from the San Francisco Opera Archives and live musical performances by soprano Rhoslyn Jones and baritone Hadleigh Adams complete this fun and tasty overview. Drink samples and light snacks will be provided. Note: attendees must be over 21 years of age to attend; IDs will be checked at the door. Tickets are $45. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/drinksanddrama.
THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB
Wagner's Ring: In Conversation with Francesca Zambello and Matthew Shilvock
Monday, May 21 at 12 p.m.
110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco
The Commonwealth Club of California's member-led Arts Forum, in association with San Francisco Opera, will host a public conversation about the June 2018 presentations of Wagner's Ring at the War Memorial Opera House. The Commonwealth Club's Arts Forum co-chair, Anne Smith, will interview Ring director Francesca Zambello and San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock about the collaborative process of bringing Wagner's 17-hour, four-opera epic to life. For more information, visit commonwealthclub.org or call (415) 597-6705.
Richard Wagner BIRTHDAY CONCERT
Sunday, May 27 at 4 p.m.
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
The Wagner Society of Northern California presents a free concert and reception honoring the 205th birthday of composer Richard Wagner. Musical guests include soprano Ann Moss, violist Justin Ouellet and pianist Steven Bailey. A champagne and dessert reception will follow the concert. Information available at wagnersf.org.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA GUILD PREVIEWS
Simon Williams presents a series of engaging Opera Preview lectures about Der Ring des Nibelungen. Organized by Guild Chapters throughout the Bay Area and in partnership with San Jose Opera Guild, each 90-minute presentation examines the structure, themes and characters of Wagner's massive work. More information at sfopera.com/previews.
- San Jose Opera Guild - Monday, June 4, 10 a.m. at Addison-Penzak JCC Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Suite 201, Los Gatos (Admission: Free to San Jose Opera Guild and JCC members. $10 for general public)
- Marin Chapter - Monday, June 4, 7:30 p.m. at The Redwoods, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley (Admission: $10)
- San Francisco Chapter - Tuesday, June 5, 12 p.m. at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street (Admission: Free)
- East Bay Chapter - Wednesday, June 6, 8 p.m. at Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette (Admission: $10)
RING COMMUNITY DAY
Saturday, June 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
John M. Bryan Education Studio, Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera
San Francisco Opera Education and San Francisco Opera Guild host a multi-generational and interactive day of community workshops and discovery for Ring newbies of all ages. Ring Community Day features a variety of family activities, including the First Act early childhood program "Teething Ring" for families with children 2-5 years old; Sing-A-Story: Das Rheingold for children ages 4-12; and an interactive Exploration Workshop: All About the Ring for children ages 6 and up. Craft-making activities will occur throughout the day. Tickets for workshops are $10. For more information, visit sfopera.com/ringcommunityday.
MUSIC OF WAGNER AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES
Sunday, June 10 at 4-5 p.m.
St. Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street, San Francisco
Bay Area organist James Welch will perform a virtuoso program, including transcriptions from Wagner's operas, on the 4842-pipe Fratelli Ruffatti organ at St. Mary's Cathedral. Tickets $10 suggested donation. For tickets and more information, visit eventbrite.
OSCAR STRAUS' DIE LUSTIGEN NIBELUNGEN (THE MERRY NIBELUNGS)
June 14-June 30
533 Sutter Street (at Powell), San Francisco
Oscar Straus' satirical 1904 operetta, Die Lustigen Nibelungen (The Merry Nibelungs), will be presented in the cabaret space of the Shelton Theater by a professional opera cast for six June performances. The English-language presentation with book and lyrics by Ross Halper is approximately 90 minutes in duration and will feature a special appearance by "Cosima Wagner." Tickets are $40, or $30 for students with ID. For tickets and more information, merrynibelungs.brownpapertickets.com.
RHINE CRUISE ON THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY
Monday, June 25, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m.
Boarding at Pier 3
1398 Embarcadero, San Francisco
Enjoy a luncheon cruise on the California Hornblower with fellow Wagnerites in an expedition hosted by the Wagner Society of Northern California. There will be a Champagne welcome at boarding time and a three-course luncheon as the vessel navigates past AT&T Park, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco shoreline. Tickets are $125. Seating is limited, and guests are encouraged to reserve early. More information available at wagnersf.org.
CYCLE EVENTS (June 12-July 1)
War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Before every performance, enjoy an overview of the opera led by a Wagner expert. Each 25-minute overview offers insights about the music, composer and historical background of each opera. Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the theater of the War Memorial Opera House 55 minutes prior to curtain.
Cycle 1: Desirée Mays
Cycle 2: Alexandra Amati
Cycle 3: Laura Prichard
THE RING IN SAN FRANCISCO EXHIBITION
June 12-July 1, 2018
War Memorial Opera House foyer, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco and
John M. Bryan Education Studio, Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, Veterans Building (4th Floor), 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Since its local premiere in 1900, Richard Wagner's Ring has thrilled San Franciscans in a variety of productions and with some of the world's greatest Wagnerian artists. To honor this rich history, San Francisco Opera has drawn Ring memorabilia from its archives to illustrate the first touring performances in 1900 to the Company's first production in 1935 starring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior and on to the current production which was first staged complete in 2011. The exhibition is open to San Francisco Opera ticket holders during all 2018 Ring cycle performances.
A second component to the exhibition, which is free and open to the public and on view in the Bryan Education Studio, examines resonances of the Ring in American popular culture. Among the displayed items will be original artwork from P. Craig Russell's 2000 graphic novel adaptation of the Ring. Presented in collaboration with San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum, the work of this celebrated comics creator, known for his work on Doctor Strange, Sandman and an adaptation of the Jungle Book, will also be exhibited at the Cartoon Art Museum's new site at 781 Beach Street. For more information about the Cartoon Art Museum, visit cartoonart.org.
Tuesday, June 12, 19 and 26; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater, Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera
New to the Ring? Begin your journey into the world of Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung with an illuminating overview of the work's story, characters and music. Ring 101 begins with an introduction by San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Dr. Clifford "Kip" Cranna. Following a one-hour break for lunch, the history of the Ring in San Francisco (1900-2018) will be illuminated in a multimedia presentation including items from the San Francisco Opera Archives and interviews with special guests. Tickets are $50. For tickets and more information, sfopera.com/ringfestival visit or call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330.
Thursday, June 14, 21 and 28; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Taube Atrium Theater, Wilsey Center for Opera
Ready to dive deeper into the Ring? Join production artists, including singers, creative team members and special guests for an in-depth panel discussion about Wagner's four-part masterpiece. A variety of different guests will be featured at each Ring Symposium, including Greer Grimsley (Wotan), Brandon Jovanovich (Siegmund/Froh), Jamie Barton (Fricka/Waltraute/Second Norn), Ronnita Miller (Erda/First Norn), Jenny Harber (Assistant Director), Shawna Lucey (Assistant Director), John W. Coleman (Stage Manager), Justin Partier (Lighting Director), Mark Hueske-Thomas (Assistant Lighting Designer), Galen Till (Costume Supervisor), Lori Harrison (Master of Properties) and others. Hosts for the Symposiums include Fred Plotkin (June 14) and William Berger (June 21). Please note: Cast and production guests subject to change. Tickets are $40. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/ringfestival or call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330.
FILM SCREENING: SING FASTER-THE STAGEHANDS' RING CYCLE
Thursday, June 14, 21 and 28; 2-3:30 p.m.
Taube Atrium Theater, Wilsey Center for Opera
Join fellow Wagnerians for screenings of Sing Faster-The Stagehands' Ring Cycle, a behind-the-scenes look at Wagner's ambitious epic from the point of view of San Francisco Opera's unsung heroes, the stage crew. Winner of the prestigious Filmmaker's Trophy at the 2000 Sundance Festival and nominated for an Academy Award, Sing Faster will be followed by a hosted Q&A with director Jon Else (June 14 and 28) or film producer Richard Berge (June 21). Tickets are $5. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/ringfestival.
WAGNER CHORUS CONCERT
Thursday, June 14, 21 and 28; 8-9:30 p.m.
Taube Atrium Theater, Wilsey Center for Opera
Members of the acclaimed San Francisco Opera Chorus will perform choral music by Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner in a program featuring excerpts from Der Freischütz, Oberon, Rienzi, Der Fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal. San Francisco Opera Chorus Director Ian Robertson conducts the singers and Associate Chorus Master Fabrizio Corona accompanies at the piano. Tickets are $30 general admission. For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/ringfestival or call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330.
Saturday, June 16, 23, and 30; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Taube Atrium Theater, Wilsey Center for Opera
Presented in conjunction with the Wagner Society of Northern California, these day-long forums offer three in-depth explorations of the Ring with Wagner experts. Note: Each Ring Forum will feature different speakers and subjects. Tickets are $65, or $55 for Wagner Society members (all ticket prices include a box lunch). For tickets and more information, visit sfopera.com/ringfestival or call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at (415) 864-3330.
RING FORUM CYCLE 1 - JUNE 16
Australian Wagner expert and dramaturg Peter Bassett explores Wagner's production inspiration through photos and models of theaters made by Gottfried Semper in the 1860s.
Das Ende: The Endings of the Ring
Desirée Mays, resident speaker at Santa Fe Opera and author of the Opera Unveiled book series, compares the six endings Wagner considered for Götterdämmerung.
The "Deep State" of the Ring
Shakespearean scholar Simon Williams explores the themes of tragedy, conflict between past and present and the imminence of death in the Ring.