The Wagner Society 
of Dallas




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Wagner Society of Dallas

On the Road Again

Pat Mattingly
WSD President


Wagner's Birthday Party 2004
On the Road with Pat Mattingly
Darren Woods & Joe Illick - FW Opera
Alessandra Comini - Love from Afar
Roy Stevens - Heldentenor
Karen Stone - Dallas Opera
Erik Werner Benefit Recital

Wagner Society of Dallas
Chasing Opera Productions

WSD Members Attend Flying Dutchman at Austin Lyric Opera

On the Road Again ...

Our Wagner Society members are feverishly out and about this spring "chasing" opera productions (a la last month's Presidents' Letter).

Fifteen of us headed south in March for the Austin Lyric Opera's production of The Flying Dutchman at Bass Hall on the UT campus. The performance we heard featured Donnie Ray Albert and Mary Jane Johnson. The village girls in Act II were actually spinning along with their vocalizing. Remember Alain-Pierre Vuilleret’s report on last year's Bayreuth Dutchman, in which the women were costumed and choreographed to resemble the Rockette's!

We started our opera evening in Austin with a nice dinner at the hotel and ended our weekend with a tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and a stop along Lake Travis for Sunday brunch.

As some of you likely know, our Director, Virginia Abdo, has also done her share of traveling during the last month, but mostly to hospitals and doctor's offices. Virginia suffered a serious fall at her home and has done serious damage to one eye. With her inimitable spirit, however, she is out and about again, maintaining her involved schedule of rehearsals and concerts. We appreciate her pushing onward as always to keep us posted on events of interest to Wagner Society members and upcoming opera schedules of Wagner operas and other opera performances.

Leslie Halla, one of our summer program presenters, has journeyed to "brush up her... German!" In Munich for a month, she is preparing herself to be on target for Lyric Opera's Ring Cycle. Daughter of WSD member Marilyn Halla, Leslie is assistant stage director in Chicago. More on program date and plans a bit later.

Roger Carroll enjoyed a glorious two weeks in London and his busy opera going review follows:

“Where else but London can you sample four different opera companies in less than two weeks? I had the pleasure of sampling such fare: The English Touring Opera presented Midsumer Night's Dream at the Hackney Palace. This was a delight! Not only great singing from the young people but great playing. The Palace is newly renovated; by the same architect who designed the London Coliseum. I got to catch the 3rd and 4th performances of the English National Opera's Rheingold at the newly reopened Coliseum. Wonderful playing by the orchestra! New young singers promise a bright future for Wagner. Perhaps the youngest Wotan I've ever seen. While the production itself leaves a lot to be desired, we can always hope for the future. Walkure and Siegfried are planned for May and November 2004.

“The Welsh National Opera took everyone by storm performing at Sadler's Wells. Eugene Onegin was one of the best productions of this opera I've seen. Again inspired playing and singing (with Amanda Roocroft).

Tosca at English National.Opera was a surprise; no Eurotrash production here. Instead, there was a real church and real castle! Dallas Opera's 2004 Fiordiligi, Claire Rutter, made an astonishing transformation in the title role.

“Finally, the Royal Opera House's Simon Boccanegra was impressive for the sheer power of the orchestra.

“To round out my visit ... Jerry Springer - The Opera was fun. I don't know how American audiences will take to it. I heard Deborah Voigt in concert the day after the Royal Opera House's dismissing her from Ariadne. She was gracious, lovely, and sang beautifully. Unselfishly, she gave five encores!”

Roger is also among the New York Met Ring Cycle attendees this month... including Bill Herrera, Jim Stoiber, and Fred Ward. They'll be hobnobbing with the NY Wagner Society colleagues at various events.

“The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” writes member Josef Suter. Gergiev will be conducting Die Walkure at the Met next season, so naturally Josef will be in attendance. Not to mention out to break his formidable record of Ring Cycles attended; he's already reserved seats for Cycles I of both the Chicago and Seattle productions.

Pat Mattingly, President
Dallas Wagner Society


Not goods, not gold,
nor greatness of Gods;
not house, nor land,
nor lordly life;
not burdensome bargains'
treacherous bands
nor wont with the lying
weight of its law;
happy, in luck or need,
holds you nothing but love.

Photos for WSD by Pat Mattingly. Copyright Pat Mattingly 2004.

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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 ] Wagner's Birthday Party 2004 ] [ On the Road with Pat Mattingly ] Darren Woods & Joe Illick - FW Opera ] Alessandra Comini - Love from Afar ] Roy Stevens - Heldentenor ] Karen Stone - Dallas Opera ] Erik Werner Benefit Recital ]


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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