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Millennium Wagner Opera Company

Several months ago, I learned about the Millennium Wagner Opera Company and the hopes of its founder and director, Carol Berger, to perform the operas of Wagner here in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere (Wagner Festival in Washington?, August 19). What began as an innocent search for more information ended in the publication of a six-part interview with Ms. Berger in September. During the preparation of those posts, I met with Ms. Berger, learned a lot about her ideas and what she was trying to do, and even attended a rehearsal (see post on September 23). Since then, I have been following the company's fortunes, in the hope that they would be able to have the chance to perform as they want.

The company's last performance was a semi-staged "Scenes from Der Ring des Nibelungen," on January 31 at Ganz Hall in Chicago (an interesting venue on the campus of Roosevelt University, with quite an assortment of stained glass). Last night, three of the company's singers performed with an accompanist at a special concert at the Cosmos Club here in Washington. This organization (whose foundation funds, among other things, the concert series at the Phillips Collection) is based in a beautiful building on Massachusetts Avenue, a few blocks west of Dupont Circle, with a spectacular Library for its members on the second floor, as well as a private garden. The concert took place in the Warne Lounge, a grand Rococo hall, also on the second floor. The decoration of this room would fit right in at Versailles: white walls with gold trim, ornate chandeliers, large mirrors facing large windows, and a host of putti, mythological creatures, and vines. A large circular painting dominates the room in a recessed part of the ceiling, executed by a painter who was an admirer of François Boucher and showing a party of water nymphs and gods on the ocean, with putti trying to form a ring in the clouds above.

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