Saul Lilienstein & Jim Holman on DVD!

NEWS FLASH: Recent lectures now available! Click here for details!

John Edward Niles: Wagner and His Texts!

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:30 pm
1990 K Street, NW, Suite 3 (enter on 20th Street, lower level)
Metro to Farragut West (Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines) or Farragut North (Red Line)

This lecture will explore the writings of Richard Wagner from a variety of perspectives, including Wagner in German, Wagner in translation, and the perils of the German language in Wagner.

John Edward Niles is a Board Member of WSWDC and a faculty member of the American Wagner Project, a collaboration with Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. For 12 years he was the Program Director of WSWDC’s Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program. He has a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Arts from Carnegie Mellon University.

Free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP online here or call 703-370-1923.

Concert from Vocal Arts DC!


May 3, 2017 @ 7:30pm

The Washington debut of the superstar Polish tenor! Beloved for his clarion voice no artist is in greater demand at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, or Paris Opera for leading roles in Verdi, Puccini & Tchaikovsky. Program to include songs by Schumann, Karłowicz, Dvořák & Rachmaninoff.

Concert at: Theatre of the Arts at the University of DC
Call 202.785.9727 or visit for additional details!

Bayreuth Festival Tickets 2017!

Yes, you read that correctly! WSWDC has been able to secure tickets to the 2017 Bayreuth Festival and we are making them available to our members (only)!

Application deadline EXTENDED to April  1, 2017. Click here for complete instructions. Note that a $500 deposit is required for each set of tickets as well as a signed commitment to purchase the tickets and agree to the sale provisions. You may use the form below to make the deposit.

Deposit Type

Wagner in der Wildnis 2017: Parsifal

Our 17th Annual Weekend Retreat (Members-only event)

Friday, June 16, to Sunday, June 18, 2017
Cacapon Resort State Park
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411

Having studied all ten of Richard Wagner’s mature operas, we are now taking a second look at his most mystical. We will have the privilege of an in-depth journey into Parsifal guided by our “dream team” presenters:
Pianist Jeffrey Swann offers his prized lecture-demonstrations at the piano. An internationally known concert pianist, he is known from previous Wildnis weekends, his concert performances for the Wagner Society of Washington, DC, his talk for the Smithsonian's Tristan und Isolde seminar in 2004, and his lectures at Bayreuth.
Professor Simon Williams, Chairman, Drama Department, University of California at Santa Barbara, presents his insightful lectures on Wagner and drama. His latest books: Wagner and the Romantic Hero, now in paperback, A History of German Theatre, and in 2015, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting. He recently completed an all-day Meistersinger seminar for San Francisco Opera.

Cacapon Resort State Park, near Berkeley Springs, WV, is a two-hour drive from downtown Washington. Car pools can be arranged. Click here for a virtual tour.

WE STILL HAVE A FEW SPOTS LEFT! REGISTER NOW BEFORE THEY'RE GONE! Register online using the form below. If you prefer to register by mail or fax, click here to download the form.

Wagner in der Wildnis 2017

John Pohanka: Maria Callas, A Wagnerian Soprano

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 7:30 pm
1990 K Street, NW, Suite 3 (enter on 20th Street, lower level)
Metro to Farragut West (Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines) or Farragut North (Red Line)

Maria Callas--born in New York City in 1923 of Greek-American parents--is not normally associated with great Wagnerian roles. Early in her amazing career, however, the great soprano was a very successful interpreter of some of the most challenging of Wagner’s roles. She sang twelve performances of Tristan und Isolde, four performances of Parsifal, and six performances as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre.

John Pohanka is a Trustee and former Chairman of the Washington National Opera, Board member of the Palm Beach Opera, Chairman of the Wagner Society of Palm Beach, and a founding Board member of the Wagner Society of Washington DC. He has a BA from Princeton University and is the author of Wagner the Mystic (2010).

Free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP online here or call 703-370-1923.

(Want more? Click the following links to view "John Pohanka presents Maria Callas": Part 1Part 2.)

Three New Sets of Wildnis Lectures Now Available Online!

We are happy to announce that audio recordings of WSWDC's Wagner in der Wildnis lectures on Tannhäuser (2008), Siegfried (2013), and Götterdämmerung (2014) are now available online! Click the titles to listen!

We now have a total of seven sets of Wildnis lectures archived--including the lectures on all four operas of the Ring--featuring insights from Pianist Jeffrey Swann, Professor Simon Williams, and WSWDC Chairman Jim Holman. WSWDC thanks longtime member Marc Nicholson for his efforts and support in facilitating and financing these valuable archives of artistic scholarship.

ALL NEW: 2016 WSWDC Newsletter!

Hot off the presses! We've all been waiting for the latest newsletter from WSWDC, and you can read it now before it arrives in your snail-mailbox! This beautifully produced document contains a sneak peek at upcoming activities, a retrospective of our 2015-16 events, a look back at the WNO Ring, news on the American Wagner Project, updates on AWP singers, and much, much more!

Click here to download, print, or read online!

Jim Holman on WETA: Wagner's Ring for Beginners!

Photo Credit: WETA

WSWDC Chairman Jim Holman was recently interviewed by WETA's Marilyn Cooley on the subject of Wagner's Ring. Jim guided her--and her listeners--through the story and background of this major work of Western art. Click here to listen to the full interview!

Massive Playbill for the WNO Ring!

Click here to view online and here to download the PDF! This special 100-page issue contains articles, synopses, artist interviews, event schedules -- AND an ad from WSWDC (p. 37)! We share the page with Placido Domingo!