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“It’s such epic music,” Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Jessica Hall on being an opera pianist for Wagner’s Das Rheingold

Prior to the Das Rheingold preview night at Minnesota Opera on Thursday, November 10, 2016, I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Jessica Hall, one of the two opera pianists for Minnesota Opera’s current production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the prologue in his epic four-opera Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), more commonly known as the Ring Cycle. Jessica Hall is currently in her second season as a Minnesota Opera Resident Artist. She obtained her Graduate Certificate, Master of Music, and…

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Brian Staufenbiel Features 

Brian Staufenbiel’s Das Rheingold – The New Generation of Opera in Action

At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2016, I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing history in the making – I attended the preview night of the first ever Minnesota Opera production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the prologue in Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). Prior to the final dress rehearsal that evening, I sat down with Brian Staufenbiel, the stage director for the production. Staufenbiel is the Creative Director at Opera Parallèle, a San Francisco-based opera company specializing in cutting-edge productions of…

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Das Rheingold Prelude Das Rheingold Opera of the Month 

Leitmotivs – Das Rheingold, Opera of the Month

Since we’re looking at a Wagner opera – Das Rheingold – this month as our Opera of the Month, we need to discuss leitmotivs. By the end of this post, you should have a solid understanding of what a leitmotiv is, who used them, and why they’re useful. A leitmotiv is a recurring musical passage that is associated with a specific person, place, thing, or idea. Most often they are relatively short melodies, but they could also be chord progressions or rhythms. They were central to Richard Wagner’s creative process…

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