Becoming Brünnhilde

A Conversation with Iréne Theorin, Nina Stemme, and Jane Eaglen


Friday, March 19 at 1pm PST on Zoom
On-demand recording available to ticket holders 24 hours after airing






The heroine of Wagner’s Ring cycle, Brünnhilde is the holy grail of roles for any dramatic soprano. Hear how Iréne Theorin, Nina Stemme, and Jane Eaglen tackled the role of Brünnhilde at San Francisco Opera and beyond. Former Metropolitan Opera Company Manager Stephen A. Brown moderates the conversation followed by a Q&A.

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About Nina Stemme

For years, Swedish born Nina Stemme has been considered a leading singer of the most challenging parts in major dramas: Isolde, Brünnhilde and Kundry, Salome and Elektra, Fanciulla and Turandot. Respect for the roles and the operas, flexibility, diversity, musicality and a level-headed estimation of her voice’s potential—these were the factors that, alongside her voice itself, made this highly talented singer an artist of global stature. In 1993, she was rewarded when she won Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition. Whether at the Metropolitan Opera New York, La Scala Milan, the Bayreuth Festival, the Vienna State Opera, or the Royal Opera House in LondonNina Stemme has kept the great tradition of Flagstad and Nilsson alive at leading opera houses.

Nina Stemme made her San Francisco Opera debut in 2004 as Senta (Der Fliegende Holländer) and appeared later that season in a concert in honor of Donald Runnicles’s fiftieth birthday. She mad her Ring cycle role debut as Brünnhilde in 2011, having previously performed the role in the Company’s Die Walküre in 2010. Most recently she sang Turandot in Puccini's beloved opera.

About Jane Eaglen

Jane Eaglen has one of the most formidable reputations in the opera world today. Enjoying unique success in the contrasting roles of Isolde (for the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Teatro Liceu Barcelona, Lyric Opera of Chicago and in Puerto Rico); Norma (performed for the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Ravenna Festival with Maestro Muti, and the Bastille); and Brünnhilde (performed in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Milan, New York, Oslo and the UK), she has garnered spectacular reviews worldwide. Other memorable operatic performances include Ariadne for Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and in London; Senta (Die fliegende Hollander) for Seattle Opera and in concert with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; Lady Macbeth in Vancouver; Ortrud (Lohengrin) for Seattle Opera; La Gioconda in Chicago and London; Tosca in Japan and London; Donna Anna in New York, Vienna, Los Angeles, Munich and Bologna; and many others.

Eaglen made her San Francisco Opera Company debut in 1995 as Brünnhilde in Wagner's Die Walküre under the baton of Donald Runnicles. She went on to reprise the role in the Company's complete Ring cycle in 1999 and returned three years late to star in Turandot.

About Iréne Theorin

One of the most celebrated dramatic sopranos of today, IréneTheorin is a regular guest at opera houses and concert venues across the world. Particularly associated with German dramatic repertoire she has garnered huge acclaim for her intense musicality, engaging performances and vocal flexibility. A graduate of the Music Academy and Royal Opera School in Copenhagen, Theorin has performed at Teatro alla Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Berliner Staatsoper, Staatsoper Vienna, Salzburg Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera de Paris, Semperoper Dresden, and at the Bayreuth Festival. With San Francisco Opera she has performed the title role of Turandot and Brünnhilde in the Company’s 2018 production of The Ring of the Nibelung.

About Stephen A. Brown

A Londoner with a degree from the Royal College of Music, Stephen A. Brown then studied at Covent Garden's young artists' programme at the London Opera Centre, afterwards working at the Royal National Theatre. He then spent 38 years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, first as Stage Manager responsible for over seventy new productions, revivals and telecasts (including Wagner’s Ring cycle), before becoming Company Manager for 20 years, before retiring in 2017.


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