Green Wagner

Environmental Themes and Challenges in Wagner's Ring


Thursday, March 25 at 5:30pm PT on Zoom
On-demand recording available to ticket holders 24 hours after airing





The Ring. It begins with the purity of nature and ends in flames. Over the course of Wagner’s 18-hour masterpiece, we see how the quest for power and wealth leads to the destruction of the environment.


Ring director Francesca Zambello and set designer Michael Yeargan joins Stanford University lecturer and Wagner scholar Kirsten Paige to discuss the themes of the environment and the warnings we must heed in order to slow down climate change.

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Francesca Zambello is an internationally recognized director of opera and theater

About Francesca Zambello

FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO is an internationally recognized director of opera and theater, as well as General Director of the Glimmerglass Festival since 2010 and Artistic Director of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. Both organizations have thrived artistically and financially while increasing their national and international profiles as a result of her vision and leadership. She also served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2011 and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater from 1987-1992.

Her U.S. directing debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe, Asia, Australia, Russia and the USA. She has worked at over fifty international opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Bolshoi, Munich State Opera, Covent Garden and Opera Australia. 

She has been named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, a Knight with the Order of the Star of Italy and received the Russian Federation’s Arts Medal, all for her service to culture. Other honors include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theatres and two Evening Standard Awards, and she has twice received the French Grand Prix des Critiques for her work at the Paris Opera. She also received the Medallion Society Award from San Francisco Opera, recognizing 30 years’ work for the company.

An American who grew up in Europe, Ms. Zambello speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She has served as an adjunct professor at Yale University. Zambello lives in New York City and Cooperstown, NY with her wife, Faith Gay, a founding partner at Selendy and Gay, and son, Jackson.

Set Designer The Ring Cycle


MICHAEL YEARGAN is the Set Designer for The Ring Cycle. With Designs for I Puritani, Mr Yeargan made his San Francisco Opera debut. Other productions for the company include La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Carmen, Luisa Miller, Streetcar Named Desire, The Merry Widow and The Ring Cycle. Other opera productions include Attila, Simon Boccanegra, Stifelio, Aida at The Royal OPERA House. And at the Met in New York:  Ariadne Auf Naxos, Otello, Cosí Fan Tutte, Les Contes D’ Hoffman, Elisir D’Amore, Don Giovanni, The Great GatsbyIl Barbiere di Siviglia; Romeo et Juliette for The Salzburg Festival and Teatro alla Scala; Broadway productions include the Lincoln Center Theater productions of South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, The King And I and My Fair Lady For South Pacific and Light and the Piazza, he was awarded the Tony Award in Scene Design. Mr Yeargan has worked extensively throughout the UK at The Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and in The West End, as well as internationally for Opera Australia and the  Berlin Staatsoper. He is also co-chair of Stage Design at the Yale School of Drama whrere he has taught since 1974.

Kirsten Paige is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Music at Stanford University

About Kirsten Paige

KIRSTEN PAIGE is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Music at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in Music History from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018. Kirsten's work explores how scientific knowledge shaped musical practices and aural cultures in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special attention to global cultural and scientific exchanges. She maintains a strong interest in public scholarship, particularly in how music and its institutions can respond to the climate crisis and its inequalities. Kirsten's work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including The Cambridge Opera Journal, Opera Quarterly, The Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and The Journal of the American Musicological Society.


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