The Wagner Society 
of Dallas




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Wagner Society of Dallas

Wesendonck Lieder


Siegfried Idyll
Puccini Society February Recital
Wesendonck Lieder
MetroPlex Opera Company
Puccini Society April Recital

Wagner Society of Dallas

March Concert

Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder

Laura Ann Ayres, Soprano
Mark Metcalf, Piano

Introductory Remarks by
Conductor Claus Peter Flor

March 17, 2007
 4:00 pm

At the home of WSD member
Jerold Lancourt, MD
Rocksprings Circle
Dallas, TX

in 1850

Richard Wagner

Laura Ann Ayers and Mark Metcalf performing the Wesendocnk Lieder

Richard Wagner and the Wesendonck Lieder

"I have done nothing better than these songs," said Richard Wagner about his Wesendonck Lieder. So, why are these songs significant? To answer this question, we must first answer the question, what is a song?

Songs are the most simple and yet most powerful of all musical forms in our world. Songs are chamber music for voice. Yet songs can the foundation of the most complex of orchestral compositions, as witnessed by Mahler's well known song cycles.

Why did Richard Wagner chooses to write songs, including the Wesendonk Lieder, when he is best known for his operas? The answer is simple. He wanted to write music that would make him accessible to music lovers in their homes, not just the opera house.

Wagner's first songs were written while he was living in Paris, between 1839 and 1842. By writing songs, he hoped to make his name in what was then the music capital of the world. In this case, he failed, for the songs he wrote during that period, while interesting, are not musically significant.

The situation changed when Wagner wrote the Wesendonck Lieder in 1857. These songs, which became an important artistic statement for Wagner, were written while the composer and his wife were living in Zurich on the estate of Otto Wesendonck and his wife Mathilde. Wesendonck was a wealthy merchant and one of Wagner's many benefactors.

During his stay with the Wesendonck's, Wagner fell in love with Mathilde. He saw his friend's beautiful wife as a "loving muse." At the same time, Mathilde herself was inspired to write her poems by the presence of the great maestro in her daily life. In the end, he himself was inspired to set five of them to music, which he presented to her as a birthday present on December 23, 1857. The songs were studies for Wagner's next opera, Tristan und Isolde, an opera filled with the unresolved chromaticism that would open a new window of expression for the musical world.

In the first song, Der Engle, Wagner uses themes from Das Rheingold. The rest of the songs are in one way or another connected with Tristan und Isolde. The rushing music heard in Stehe Stille! - Stand Still - is later used in Act I of Tristan. The introduction of Im Treibhaus - In the Green house - most closely resembles music in Act III. In the fourth song, Schmerzern - Pain - the music is found in Act II of the opera. Finally, the pivotal love duet in Act II of Tristan und Isolde finds its source in the setting for Mathilde's final poem, Traeume - Dreams.

So we see that Wagner's assessment of this music was correct. He has indeed done nothing better than these songs.

Claus Peter Flor
Dallas, March 3, 2007

Laura Ann Ayers visits with Roger Carroll - The Recital Hall at the Lancourt Home

Feb 10, 2007 with the Puccini Society of Dallas, at the Edgemere. 4:00 pm
Feb 15, 18M, 21 and 24, 2007 Lohengrin - performed by The Dallas Opera
March 17, 2007 Claus Peter Flor and Laura Ayers perform Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder
March 3, 2007 The Dallas Opera's annual Vocal Competition
April Ann Petty and Opera singers in a recital. TBA

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Programs for 2005 - 2006

October 30, 2005

Desiree Mays
"Parsifal, the Holy Grail, and the Da Vinci Code," a talk on the meaning of the Grail through history and in Parsifal.

March 5, 2006 Red Carnations,
an opera by Robert Baksa presented by Dallas Opera Education Department and SMU

All dates and events subject to change.

It's That Time Again!

Please Renew your Membership in
the Wagner Society of Dallas

Annual Membership Fee is $25 Per Person

Click HERE for PDF Membership Form

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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 ] Siegfried Idyll ] Puccini Society February Recital ] [ Wesendonck Lieder ] MetroPlex Opera Company ] Puccini Society April 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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