The Wagner Society 
of Dallas




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WSD 2001-2002 EVENTS








Welcome Spring
Susan Miller Hult

April 5, 2002, 
Sunday at 4:30 P.M.

Ciudad Restaurant
388 Oak Lawn Avenue
in Turtle Creek Village


WSD 2003  Business Meeting
Wagner's Birthday 2003
SMU Ring Marathon
An Israeli Conducts Wagner
The Tristan Chord
Tiffany Roberts Benefit Recital
Susan Miller Hult - Prompter

Susan Miller Hult - Prompter, Lyric Opera of Chicago

As the assistant conductor and prompter of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Susan Miller Hult has the best seat in the house. She's the prompter.

Susan Miller Hult will share her experiences with the greatest Wagnerians of our time: Morris, Terfel, Eaglen, Domingo, Voigt, Heppner, Behrens. The good, the bad, and the ugly. She has promised us insights, news, and tales of backstage intrigues.

Susan Miller Hult has worked with James Levine at Bayreuth, with Seiji Ozawa in Tokyo, and at the San Francisco Opera. "Please join us in welcoming my friend Susan Hult. I can assure you an interesting event."

Pat Mattingly, President, WSD

The Wagner Society of Dallas invited members to welcome Spring and Susan Miller Hult at a meeting which started at 4:30 P.M. on Saturday April 5, 2003.

The meeting was held at the Ciudad Restaurant in Turtle Creek Village. Quite a lot of our members attended this wonderful talk. As promised on our invitations, we were first of all served with drinks. Afterwards, waiters and waitresses served us delicious hors d'oevres.

After we had imbibed, we were asked to go into an adjoining room where a microphone was set up. Pat Mattingly, the President of the Wagner Society of Dallas, introduced her friend, Susan Miller Hult, who, she announced, had first graduated from SMU,  and then gone on to study at the Eastman School of Music and Juilliard. From 1994 to 1998, Ms. Hult worked with James Levine, Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She also remarked that Susan is currently the Assistant Conductor and Prompter of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and that we would be in for a very interesting hour of entertainment. We were.

Susan charmed us all by sharing with us many of her experiences as a prompter. She had some wonderful anecdotes.

Her job as a prompter, she said, is to have the score ready and be there for whatever the singers need. The prompter, she said, acts as a liaison between the Maestro and the singers. Her job is to know all the parts and be able to sing the queues. Sometimes the singer may not realize that they are a beat ahead, so she has to use hand signals to slow them down. She also works with the understudies, and makes sure they know the correct rhythms. Susan said that she is insulated from the orchestra while sitting in her box with two televisions.

Susan described her feelings when she worked at Bayreuth, and told us how helpful James Levine was, and also how helpful the Wagners themselves had been. Richard Wagner's music  is especially difficult for singers, because one has to know every phrase and every word in a six hour opera. She gave much praise to James Levine, a conductor who, she says, knows where the singer needs to breathe, and who gives the singers "thumbs up" when they do something good. While at Bayreuth, Mr. Levine asked Mr. Wagner if his tempi were too slow. Mr. Wagner¹s reply was, "The tempi work for you beautifully".

Ms. Hult said she completed her apprenticeship as a prompter in San Francisco and was prompter there for five years. In 1993, she told us, she did her first full Ring Cycle with Zubin Mehta at Chicago.  (Zubin and I were colleagues in Vienna when we both studied there, so I found this especially interesting ­ SJH ).

One of our Wagner Society members, Dr. Don Janak, asked if some singers ignore her. Her reply was, "Oh yes, once I sang a cue, then I sang again, then I finally spoke the text." Susan added that if a singer is really "off", the prompter just concentrates on the person coming after that singer.

She told us that it is vitally important for the prompter to stay calm, and that some singers are much easier to work with than others. James Morris, for instance, is wonderful to work with and always appreciative of her work.

At this point, I added that, having been a singer myself in Europe, I knew that the prompter was always my best friend and that most singers should really appreciate the work she does. She was most grateful for my words of admiration for her work.

Susan Miller  Hult's entertaining speech received a standing ovation. I was so glad that I had decided to go to this unusual event.

Sheila Jones Harms, WSD
Artistic Director, International Opera Studio of Dallas


Welcome to The Wagner Society of Dallas. You know, as Texans, we're bound to strive for being the biggest and best of all the Wagner groups in the world over.

My hope, in addition, is that we ensure your attendance and participation by offering an interesting, stimulating, and enjoyable array of meetings, recitals, and travel. Let us know if you have suggestions for future activities, and do make an effort to join in during the coming months with your membership, attendance, and above all joy of being with fellow Wagner aficionados.

Roger Carroll
President of the Wagner Society of Dallas

The Wagner Society of Dallas - Virginia R. Abdo and Dr. James T. Wheeler,

The Wagner Society of Dallas is devoted to furthering the enjoyment and appreciation of the music of Richard Wagner. The Dallas group is one of many Wagner Societies all over the world. It is a non-profit organization open to anyone who enjoys the works of Richard Wagner and who would like to participate in the Society’s activities.

The Wagner Society of Dallas has monthly meetings and programs which feature recitals, lectures, video screenings, receptions for opera singers and personalities, and trips to Wagner performances in other cities. We welcome music lovers who are already familiar with Wagner’s works as well as those who may want to become more knowledgeable about Wagner’s music.

Member Benefits include attendance at programs, our newsletter, discount on books and CD’s, advance notice of events and selected ticket services, receipt of the Membership Directory, ticket allotments to Bayreuth, and an active link with fellow Wagnerians throughout the world.


The Wagner Society of Dallas

PO Box 25201
Dallas, TX 75225-0201
(214) 363-6070

Virginia R. Abdo and
Dr. James T. Wheeler

email: WSD@

Digital Photos on this website, unless otherwise noted,
copyright Edward P. Flaspoehler, JR

Home ] Up ] WSD 2003  Business Meeting ] Wagner's Birthday 2003 ] SMU Ring Marathon ] An Israeli Conducts Wagner ] The Tristan Chord ] Tiffany Roberts Benefit Recital ] [ Susan Miller Hult - Prompter ]


Many Wagner Society of Dallas members fondly remember Sheila Jones Harms, who was an active member of the organization, and who presented many interesting programs and recitals over the years.

Now, WSD member Ed Flaspoehler has completed his biography of Sheila, called The Cold War Soprano: Memoirs of a Singer-Spy.

If you are interested in opera and fine singing, Sheila's biography will surely be of interest to you. Not only will you get an inside glimpse of what it takes to become an opera singer, and learn about the world of opera in Post- WWII Vienna, but, because Sheila and her husband Werner, were also CIA agents, you will get a look at the Cold War from a personal point of view.

You can get a copy of Ed's book on the internet at

The Wagner Society of Dallas
is a Member of
The International Association of Wagner Societies

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