The Wagner Society of Northern California
June 27, 2009 1:00
Professor Hans Vaget
Hoechtest Liebes-Lust: Tristan, Isolde and Ecstasy
Over the weekend I was at the monthly meeting of the Wagner Society of Northern California, which almost prankishly meets at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. About 50 or so earnest & venerable members were present. The meeting started with announcements about up-coming Ring cycles, performance-related parties & tickets for offer. I imagine that access to tickets, especially for Bayreuth, is the prime benefit of joining the society. But clearly the society also puts its money where its mouth is & issued a goal of raising five-thousand dollars to be donated to the San Francisco Opera specifically for the new Ring cycle. During the preliminary announcements I was a bit startled to be singled out by name as a guest at this event.
The featured speaker was Hans Vaget, Professor Emeritus of Smith College & an English-language lecturer at the Bayreuth Festival. He gave quite an academic talk on poetic aspects of the libretto of Tristan & Isolde. People seemed to listen studiously, though his lecture assumed an audience far beyond my own knowledge & interest. At one point in the Q & A the issue of Wagner's skin condition came under discussion. Certainly the Wagner Society crowd is not to be underestimated.