Speight Jenkins will be the first to tell you that there’s grand opera and then there are Richard Wagner’s operas, those massive, sprawling epics populated by feuding gods, warrior women sporting winged helmets, knights of the Grail and sexually frustrated lovers.
General director of Seattle Opera since 1983, Jenkins is a passionate advocate for Wagner’s music.
Under his leadership, Seattle Opera has produced all 10 of Wagner’s works (including two different productions of the four-part Ring cycle), garnering an international reputation and big audiences. A prolific author, Jenkins has authored an audiobook series on enjoying Wagner’s Ring cycle, edited several operatic vocal scores and co-written a cookbook with his wife, Linda.
Jenkins will speak as part of the Opera Rap series Thursday at Music Hall, and when it comes to “Explaining Wagner” (as his “Rap” is called) there’s hardly anyone more uniquely qualified than the lanky, bespectacled Texan, who “started speaking on opera in 1968 and never stopped.” 7 p.m. $5 at the door. Read Anne Arenstein's interview with Jenkins here.