In partnership with The Wagner Society of Southern California, the Opera League presents an entertaining and educational afternoon discussing Wagner's 1845 opera, Tannhäuser. Our speakers will be League favorite Michael Hackett and, back by popular demand after her presentation on "a very Barrie Kosky" Bohème in September 2019, Katherine Syer.
Michael will discuss Tannhäuser and the true story of the historical figures represented in the Song Contest, while Katherine will cover staging of Tannhäuser's many layers as well as notable past productions of the work.
About the Speakers
Associate Professor Katherine Syer taught opera history and production at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana before recently joining the faculty at UCLA. Her research and teaching have focused on opera staging and design in the 21st century, opera production history and dramaturgy. An active researcher and opera critic (bachtrack.com), she has written about the work of many contemporary opera directors and designers, especially during her time as a Humboldt scholar based in Munich and later as a visiting professor in Vienna. Her professional work as a dramaturg includes a new production of Hansel und Gretel for Canadian Opera Company (Toronto, 2020). Her work on Wagner’s creative development and legacy has been published in The Wagner Journal, Musical Quarterly, Wagner and His World, and A Companion to Wagner’s Parsifal. Her monograph Wagner’s Visions: Poetry, Politics and the Psyche in the Operas through Die Walküre appeared in 2014 (Boydell and Brewer).
Michael Hackett is a professor of directing and theater history, and a former chair of Theater in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
He has directed for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Royal Theatre at The Hague; the Centrum Sztuki Studio and Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw; Santa Fe Short Story Festival; Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; LA Opera (children’s series); Getty Center and Getty Villa, Musica Angelica; Antaeus Company; the Geffen Playhouse; and fifteen radio productions for L.A. Theater Works including Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest with Charles Busch (nominated for two Audie Awards).
He taught at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art for three years, where he co-designed and instituted a music-drama program and gave lecture/demonstrations for the Royal College of Music. He has also given workshops for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. For 15 years he directed Greek chorus workshops and presentations for the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Familiar to opera audiences in Southern California, he has lectured extensively for LA Opera and, for these activities, was given the Fifth Annual Peter Hemmings Award by the Opera League of Los Angeles. He has also conducted over seventy arts-related interviews for classical radio KUSC.
On World Theatre Day in March 2020, he was a awarded the Witkacy Prize by the Polish Centre of the International Theatre Institute for the promotion of Polish theater.
He has a B.A. in English from Boston College and he received a Ph.D. in Drama and the Humanities from Stanford University.
Participating singers will be announced soon.
Food will be available for purchase from the Colburn Café.
***PROOF OF VACCINATION AND MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED. The Colburn School's current policy requires guests to be vaccinated and to wear masks. Guests must present a photo ID along with a vaccination card upon arrival.***