Release date: 5/27/2011

Bay Area Ring Festival Activities Continue Throughout May and June 2011

Celebration Features Symposia, Exhibits, Films, Performances and Special Events in Conjunction with San Francisco Opera's Presentation of Wagners Der Ring des Nibelungen

San Francisco Opera Launches Notes from Valhalla:The Ring Blog


Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO (April 27, 2011 UPDATED May 13, 2011)—Presented in conjunction with San Francisco Opera’s upcoming presentation of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), the Bay Area Ring Festival continues throughout May and June 2011. In celebration of the epic four-opera cycle widely considered one of the greatest works ever conceived for the operatic stage, a diverse array of cultural and educational institutions have partnered with San Francisco Opera to present lectures and symposia, exhibits, musical performances, film screenings and other events throughout the Bay Area for audiences who desire to connect with the work in new and compelling ways.
The many Ring Festival events that run throughout the completion of the cycle performances give Ring audiences the opportunity to explore Wagner and his music from a variety of unique and fascinating angles. Lively panel discussions discuss issues as diverse as the intersection of science and the environment in the Ring (California Academy of Sciences); psychological, political and spiritual parallels found in the Ring (New School Commonweal); and Buddhist influences evident in the Ring (Asian Art Museum). Seminars and symposia presented by Stanford University and the Wagner Society of Northern California will provide an in-depth look at the myths, legends and themes which run through the four operas and San Francisco Opera will present three symposia featuring members of the music staff, creative team and production staff behind this Ring production. Upcoming musical performances range from an orchestral concert of music from the Ring (San Francisco Conservatory) and organ transcriptions of Wagner’s music (St. Mary’s Cathedral), to the lighthearted operetta The Merry Nibelungs by Oscar Straus (Opera Frontier). For the first time, San Francisco Opera also partners with the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the Contemporary Jewish Museum to explore the sensitive and important issues of Wagner’s anti-Semitism and the political impact of his music throughout history. Panelists, speakers and performers include an array of scholars and professors, authors, journalists and musicians, as well as a scientist, a screenwriter, a former monk and a psychiatrist.
Ring Festival partners include the Asian Art Museum; California Academy of Sciences; Commonwealth Club; KDFC Classical Radio;Contemporary Jewish Museum; Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of San Francisco; Humanities West; Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; Los Medanos College; Mills College; Museum of Performance & Design; The New School Commonweal; Opera Frontier; OPERA America; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; St. Mary’s Cathedral; University of San Francisco: the Center for the Pacific Rim; San Francisco Opera Center; Stanford University and Stanford Lively Arts; and the Wagner Society of Northern California. San Francisco Opera will also present three Ring symposia as well as pre-opera talks prior to each performance, and San Francisco Opera Guild will present preview lectures and discussions throughout the Bay Area.
San Francisco Opera Launches Notes from Valhalla: The Ring Blog
San Francisco Opera announces the launch of a new blog that will give readers an inside look at the creative process and behind-the-scenes activities that take place when planning, rehearsing and performing Wagner’s epic four-opera Ring cycle. Notes from Valhalla: The Ring Blog, hosted at, will have many contributors, each involved in bringing the Ring to life in a unique way. From singers, orchestra musicians and music staff to stage managers, wig and makeup personnel and video directors, this blog will shine light on the extraordinary team of people who come together to present this monumental work. From high atop Valhalla, the mythical home of the gods, this is a unique opportunity to have a window into the world of the preparation and presentation of the SF Opera’s new Ring
 “I’m very proud of the many educational, community and cultural organizations that have come together to present Ring related programs that are innovative, bold, sensitive, complex and timely,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “I am also particularly excited about the launch of Notes from Valhalla, our new blog that will provide an additional unique way for our audience to get to know the inner workings of this Ring.”
About San Francisco Opera’s 2011 Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)
Siegfried production premiere: May 29 (1 p.m.)
Götterdämmerung production premiere: June 5 (1 p.m.)
CYCLE 1:  June 14 (8 p.m.); June 15 (7 p.m.); June 17 (6:30 p.m.); June 19 (1 p.m.)
CYCLE 2:  June 21 (8 p.m.); June 22 (7 p.m.); June 24 (6:30 p.m.); June 26 (1 p.m.)
CYCLE 3:  June 28 (8 p.m.); June 29 (7 p.m.); July 1 (6:30 p.m.); July 3 (1 p.m.)
               San Francisco Opera presents Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in three complete cycles, each in their entirety over the course of one week as the composer originally intended, from June 14–July 3, 2011 at the historic War Memorial Opera House. The four operas in this production by director Francesca Zambello—Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung—will be presented in San Francisco for the first time as a complete cycle. Wagner’s epic cycle explores the lust for power, the lure of gold, the sacred beauty of nature, and the power of redemption and renewal despite the destructive impulses of mankind, through the gradual unfolding of a timeless mythical tale.  
Former San Francisco Opera music director and noted Wagnerian Donald Runnicles leads a celebrated international cast, including Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde), Mark Delavan (Wotan), Stefan Margita (Loge), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried, Siegfried), Ian Storey (Siegfried, Götterdämmerung), Gordon Hawkins (Alberich), Elizabeth Bishop (Fricka), David Cangelosi (Mime), Anja Kampe (Sieglinde) and Brandon Jovanovich (Siegmund and Froh).  Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Siegfried are co-productions with Washington National Opera, and Götterdämmerung is a new San Francisco Opera production premiere.
Single tickets for San Francisco Opera’s May 29–July 3, 2011 presentation of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen are priced from $95 to $360 and are available online at or from the San Francisco Opera Box Office either in person or by phone at (415) 864-3330.