Wagner Notes

December 2023

“Bayreuth changed my life. Prior to 2022, I had some knowledge of Wagner and the Festival, and was aware of Wagner’s influence on tonality and harmonic structure. However, his gargantuan reputation was intimidating and, because of that, I was not enthusiastic about learning his music. It was not until 2022, when I was an Apprentice Artist in the chorus of Tristan und Isolde with Sante Fe Opera, that I had an opportunity to be immersed in the music – and only then because I had a vested interest. Then in 2023, I was the recipient of WSNY’s Bayreuth Stipendium, an annual scholarship program that gives participants the opportunity to experience three operas, attend lectures on his music, and connect with other young singers, as well as instrumentalists, directors, coaches, conductors, costume designers, and scholars. The performances I attended were dynamic, varied, and superb musically. The Festspielhaus is rife with pageantry and symbolism. Each evening’s performance may begin on the lawn with refreshments, conversations, and, for me, much-needed German practice. … The Bayreuth Festival reinvigorated my love for opera. Seeing three varied and contrasting shows made for diverse musical and dramatic experiences, all of which ranked 11 out of 10. … The overture of Dutchman burned through the house like wildfire. … The performances ignited a new sense of responsibility and dedication to my own musicianship. This musical awakening is only attainable at the Bayreuth Festival, due to its specific history; it stands alone in its musicianship, inventiveness, and faithfulness to Wagner’s legacy. My experience as a Stipendium recipient was rich with learning, culturally enriching experiences, and fabulous performances. I am a better artist as a result.”