Ring Festival: Closing Toast

Tuesday, March 30 at 6:30pm PST on Zoom

On-demand recording available to ticket holders 24 hours after airing

Open to subscriber and donor Festival Pass holders and All-Access Festival Pass holders only. Eligible pass holders, check your email for more information.


Pour yourself a glass of bubbly and celebrate the end of the month-long festival with a lively discussion between General Director Matthew Shilvock, Ring director Francesca Zambello, author and opera scholar Naomi André, and mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller.

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About Francesca Zambello

FRANCESCA ZAMBELLO is an internationally recognized director of opera and theater, as well as General Director of the Glimmerglass Festival since 2010 and Artistic Director of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2012. Both organizations have thrived artistically and financially while increasing their national and international profiles as a result of her vision and leadership. She also served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005-2011 and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theater from 1987-1992.

Her U.S. directing debut took place at the Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe, Asia, Australia, Russia and the USA. She has worked at over fifty international opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, Bolshoi, Munich State Opera, Covent Garden and Opera Australia. 

She has been named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, a Knight with the Order of the Star of Italy and received the Russian Federation’s Arts Medal, all for her service to culture. Other honors include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theatres and two Evening Standard Awards, and she has twice received the French Grand Prix des Critiques for her work at the Paris Opera. She also received the Medallion Society Award from San Francisco Opera, recognizing 30 years’ work for the company.

An American who grew up in Europe, Ms. Zambello speaks French, Italian, German, and Russian. She attended Moscow University in 1976 and graduated cum laude from Colgate University in 1978. She has served as an adjunct professor at Yale University. Zambello lives in New York City and Cooperstown, NY with her wife, Faith Gay, a founding partner at Selendy and Gay, and son, Jackson.

About Ronnita Miller

Mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller made her San Francisco Opera debut as Erda and the First Norn in the 2011 Ring cycle and reprised those roles in 2018. As a member of the permanent ensemble at Deutsche Oper Berlin, she has performed there as Erda and First Norn, Marthe in Faust, Madelon in Andrea Chénier, Fenena in Nabucco, Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, among other roles. Recent career highlights include Erda with the Semperoper Dresden and conductor Christian Thielemann; Amando in Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre with the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and conductor Simon Rattle; Fricka in Die Walküre with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and conductor Alexander Vedernikov; Mary in Der Fliegende Höllander at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and Los Angeles Opera; and Mistress Quickly in Falstaff with Los Angeles Opera.

About Naomi André

Naomi André is Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and M.A. and Ph.D. (Music: Musicology) from Harvard University. Her research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race in the US, Europe, and South Africa. Her publications include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her book, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press, 2018), won the Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award from the American Musicological Society. Her earlier books include Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, co-edited collection). She has edited and contributed to clusters of articles in African Studies and the Journal of the Society for American Music. Currently she is a co-editor for the essay collection African Performance Arts and Political Acts (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming in 2022). She is the inaugural Scholar in Residence at the Seattle Opera and a founding member of the Black Opera Research Network (BORN).


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