Phillip W. Raines


Phillip Raines is our resident operagogue. A longtime lover of the works of Richard Wagner, Phil shares his enthusiasm in the form of an invitation to community rather than as truths imparted from on high. His openness to what art has to offer and his willingness to share his discoveries make his presentations memorable as much for the conviviality they inspire as for the understanding they encourage.

Artistic Biography

  • 1949: Born in Munich, Germany, of a Japanese mother from Maui, Hawaii, and an English / Dutch / Native American father, from Martinsburg, WV, with the Department of Defense, Air Force Armed Forces.
  • 1960-1967: Private student of Dr. Frau Alice Koch in piano, voice, and conducting in Wiesbaden, Germany.
  • 1967: First Prize in German Public Speaking Contest at H.H. Arnold High School, Wiesbaden, Germany. Topic: “Wagner und seiner Gesamtkunstwerk.”
  • 1968: Title and lead roles of Pirandello’s Henry IV, and The Boyfriend at University of Maryland, Munich
  • 1969: Honorary Student Director and first prize for direction of “Aria da Capo” at University of Maryland, Munich’s one act play competition
  • 1966.68.69: Participation at the Bayreuth Festival
  • 1973: Graduated with an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Maryland and employed by Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland for 31 years to date. Currently involved with a full inclusion program with special education students within the regular education setting, who have a range of disabilities from mental retardation to learning disabilities.
  • 1973-2001: Directed Drama Club activities for Montgomery Country Public Schools, culminating in performances of scripts adapted and re-written by me from adult major musical presentations to relevant children’s performances for students in Grades 3-6
  • 1974: Composed theme song, wrote script for, and directed a slide multi-media presentation for Montgomery Country Public Schools entitled “Speak to Me, I Will Listen”: a presentation on early language development in children
  • 1990: Children’s Opera theater workshops for Montgomery County Schools in collaboration with composer Richard Faith, ret. Univ. of Arizona, entitled “You Too Can Love Opera”
  • 1998: Formed PERSONAL MUSIK KRITIQUES, a freelance critique operation, which uses in depth reviews of operas in USA companies and concentrates on both the production elements as well as substantial musical analysis of the performance, which exceeds most tabloid reviews of same performances. Distributed privately and, at times, through the New York Times Opera Forum. Web page is currently in design.
  • 1999: Nominated and accepted into the Board of Directors of the Wagner Society of Washington, DC
  • 2000: Nominated by a former Honors Drama Student and accepted into Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 2000.
  • 2000: Multi-media Presentation: “Production and Dramatic aspects of Tannhäuser” presented to the Wagner Society of Washington, DC
  • 2001: Multi-media Presentation: “A Visual Journey through Parsifal,” presented to the Wagner Society of Washington, DC
  • 2001: Multi-media Presentation: “Das Rheingold: The Embryo of the Ring,” presented to the Wagner Society of Washington, DC
  • 2001: Multi-media Presentation and Symposium: “Whose Ring Is It Anyway?: The Nibelungenlied and Wagner’s Ring” presented to the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 2002: Multi-media Presentation: “The Human Dramatic Elements in Meistersinger,” presented to the Wagner Society of Washington, DC
  • 2002: Drafting Learning Wagner’s Ring: What Should I Listen for Next? A Hierarchical Approach – a tiered approach to learning the Ring and its treasures through focusing on specific elements in a multi-step approach. To be initially presented in San Francisco, 2004.
  • 2003: Sept.20, 2003: Multi-media Presentation: “Der Ring des Nibelungen: Wagner’s Epic Vision”: Productional aspects of the Ring with J.K. Holman as moderator. Presented to the Smithsonian Institution at the Hirschorn Museum of Art, Washington DC
  • Oct. 2003: Published Essay in the book, Wolfgang Wagner: An Appreciation, published by Hawaii Press Inc.
  • 2004: San Francisco, July 30 - Aug 1, Inaugural presentation of What Do I Listen For Next? sponsored by Classics Without Walls
  • 2005: Chicago, April 10 - 16, Presentation of What Do I Listen For Next? in conjunction with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Third Cycle initiates full-scale seminar designed to accompany complete performance of the Ring
  • 2005: Seattle, August 13 - 20, Presentation of What Do I Listen For Next? in conjunction with Seattle Opera’s Second Cycle