Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Impact on Culture and Modern Music

By Ron Stauffer

Looney Toons. Star Wars. Jaws. Apocalypse Now. Here Comes the Bride. Ride of the Valkyries. The Lord of the Rings. Indiana Jones. “A little bird told me.”

What do these movies, TV shows, melodies and idioms all have in common? They were all heavily influenced by the German Romantic-era opera composer Richard Wagner.

Wagner, whose name might not be quite as universally-recognizable as Beethoven or Mozart, has still had a tremendous influence on music and art in the 21st century. Even those who might not think they are familiar with Wagner likely are. Continue reading “Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Impact on Culture and Modern Music”

Concert Review: Wagner’s Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera 2018

By Ron Stauffer

SAN FRANCISCO — Like many opera fans, I have spent years trying to attend as many live operatic performances as I can. This often requires traveling to different cities or states, either by plane or by taking a long road trip.

So far, I’ve been able to see several operas by a few respectable companies, including the Houston Grand Opera in Texas, and the Los Angeles Opera in California (both of which are generally ranked in the top five opera companies in the nation).

Continue reading “Concert Review: Wagner’s Ring Cycle at San Francisco Opera 2018”

Wagner’s Ring Cycle: The Greatest Story Ever Told

By Ron Stauffer

SAN FRANCISCO — “The Ring [Cycle] is a gigantic work of art. It’s comparable to the complete works of Shakespeare, or the Sistine Chapel ceiling of Michelangelo, or any of the greatest monuments of art.” – Terence McEwen

Thus begins a narrated recording of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which was provided by the San Francisco Opera exclusively to ticket holders before the company’s June 2018 performance of the work. Continue reading “Wagner’s Ring Cycle: The Greatest Story Ever Told”

Rediscovering The Magic of Christmas Through Caroling

For most of my adult life, Christmas has been a terrible holiday I’ve tried to avoid at almost all costs. It wasn’t always that way, however. As a child, I had fond memories of the entire Christmas season, and all year long I would anticipate my family’s traditions that made it very special for us kids. But when I became a husband and a father at a very young age, instead of being a blessing, Christmas became less of a holiday and more of a dreaded curse at the end of several difficult years. Continue reading “Rediscovering The Magic of Christmas Through Caroling”