Photo Credit: Deborah Parrish

Vallejo Center for the Arts Reopens The Empress Theatre

The Empress Theatre has reopened after two long years as a darkened venue due to the COVID pandemic.

On Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., Bay Area classical music lovers will experience an electrifying evening of music by the great German composer Richard Wagner. The concert will include excerpts from Tannhaeuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walkuere, Lohengrin, The Flying Dutchman and Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg.

Soprano Othalie Graham will be featured in the well-known Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and in dramatic arias from Die Walkuere and Tannhaeuser.

Richard Wagner portrayed the power of love in majestic vocal and instrumental music that remains as relevant and awe-inspiring now as it was in the composer’s time. Long before Stars Wars or Lord of the Rings lit up the cinema, Wagner envisioned grand dramatic spectacles – part fairy tale, part allegory – told through the most moving and exciting music ever composed. The Vallejo Center for the Arts will present selections from Wagner’s masterworks that have captivated audiences for more than a century in The Greatest Wagner Concert Ever!

Canadian American soprano Othalie Graham consistently receives international critical acclaim and is widely known for her commitment to Wagnerian repertoire. The Boston Globe noted that Graham’s “timbre and power were thrilling – with a steely ring from top to bottom.” Hers is a voice of heroic proportions, and she possesses a remarkable musicality and an interpretative imagination as incandescent as the music she sings.

Conductor Thomas Conlin has led symphonic and operatic performances on five continents. His recording of American composer George Crumb’s orchestral masterpiece, Star-Child, with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus and soloists won a Grammy, and his recordings of the piano concertos of Brazilian composer Camargo Guarnieri have been highly praised in American and international publications.

The Vallejo Festival Orchestra debuted in 2020 at the Vallejo Center for the Arts’ presentation at the Empress Theatre of Three Tenors! – the Next Generation. Music Director Conlin has called Vallejo’s historic art-deco Empress Theatre “perhaps the best venue in northern California for classical music.” Regular patrons have praised its warm acoustics and noted that sight and sound are excellent throughout the theater.

Wagner’s intent was to create a new kind of dramatic work, in which music, poetry, drama, acting, scenery and spectacle could be combined in a meaningful and expressive whole, and which was to be called not “opera” but “music-drama.” The music and story should not only be conceived together, Wagner felt, but should be so intimately connected and harmoniously blended as to be almost indispensable to each other. But Wagner’s theatrical innovations were matched – perhaps even surpassed – by his skill as an orchestrator. His grand conception demanded a symphonic approach rather than a traditional operatic one, and with it a greatly enlarged orchestra. Wagner’s orchestral style is brilliant and colorful, original and virtuosic. His demands for the singers are no less innovative. He makes the most extraordinary demands on the voice, which he appears to regard simply as an instrument, capable of overcoming any difficulty whatsoever. “Wagner, perhaps more than any other composer, can be counted on to deliver the ‘goosebump’ factor,” according to Maestro Conlin. “This will be an evening you won’t soon forget.”

Empress Theatre, 330 Virginia Street, Vallejo, CA 94590
Reserved seating only: $52-$98 Tel: 707-552-2400