Jul 29, 2013

Wagner Tuba, other rare instruments from National Music Museum to be featured at Seattle Opera’s ‘Ring Cycle’

VERMILLION, S.D. -- An exhibition of seven rare musical instruments from the National Music Museum, which is located on the University of South Dakota campus, will be featured in conjunction with the Seattle Opera’s production of Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” Aug. 4-25 at McCaw Hall in Seattle, Wash.

This renowned series of four operas, a 16-hour telling of the Norse saga the “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (“The Ring of Nibelung”), is Wagner’s story of the end of the world and the dawn of a new one. As international audiences flock to Seattle to witness this epic production for the 38th consecutive year, the production will include the National Music Museum exhibit, “Wagner, Verdi, and the Search for Orchestral Color,” celebrating the bicentennial anniversaries of both Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and Giuseppe Verdi (18-13-1901). According to Cleveland Johnson, director of the National Music Museum, Verdi and Wagner guided instrument builders in devising new musical instruments to reflect the sounds of their imaginations.

“Few of these instruments found a permanent place in the orchestras of today,” Johnson said. “They are, however, witnesses to the fact that the human search for innovative new sounds is not unique to our own time.”

The centerpiece of the exhibit is an early “Wagner tuba,” built in Berlin around 1877. The instrument came to the National Music Museum badly damaged and, prior to last year, was in storage at the National Music Museum. Ana Silva, a Portuguese student in the master’s degree program for the history of musical instruments, restored the instrument for her thesis project. The Wagner tuba, along with the other rare instruments in the exhibit, will return to South Dakota and be part of the National Music Museum’s permanent collection.

For more information about the National Music Museum, please visit http://nmmusd.org/, which includes a virtual tour of the facility. The National Music Museum is located on the campus of USD at 414 East Clark Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. The NMM’s summer schedule includes extended evening hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

A photo of the restored Wagner tuba is available for download at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/Wagner_tuba_restored.jpg. A “before” image of the damaged tuba can be found at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/Wagner_tuba_before.jpg.

About The National Music Museum
The National Music Museum, located at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, is the preeminent institution worldwide for the comprehensive study of musical instruments. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the NMM was founded in 1973 on the campus of the University of South Dakota. As a partnership between USD and the non-profit entity, National Music Museum Inc., the National Music Museum is home to the deepest and most distinguished collection of musical instruments in the nation. Both through bold purchases on the international market and through a network of donors from coast to coast, the NMM’s collections include many of the earliest, finest and most historically important musical instruments in existence.
About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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414 East Clark Street • Vermillion, SD 57069
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