On March 11, 2012, the Wagner Society of Cincinnati presented “Wagner’s Ring Cycle,” a panel discussion. This page provides biographical information for our panelists and moderator.


Charles Parsons – Opera Historian, Author, Reviewer, and Authority
Marcus Küchle – Director of Artistic Operations, Cincinnati Opera
Gustav Andreassen – International Opera Singer

Panel Moderator

Jim Slouffman – President, Wagner Society of Cincinnati

Charles Parsons – Opera Historian, Author, Reviewer, and Authority

Charles H. Parsons is both a scholar and a performer and has been involved in almost every facet of opera research and production. Studies at the University of Cincinnati (College-Conservatory of Music, College of Arts and Sciences) included music, literature, and fine arts. In 1995, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from Mellen University, Lampeter, Wales. Since 1996, he has been a member of the honorary MacDowell Society in both the music and literature categories. In 2005, he was recognized by the Ohioana Library (State Library of Ohio) as an author for his distinguished contributions to opera.

After an extended foray into opera production, during which he served in many capacities, from translator to stage director, from actor to designer, he has now settled down to his first loves–research and scholarship. Now retired after 30 years as Information Management Specialist Librarian at the College of Law of the University of Cincinnati, he continues to author/compile The Mellen Opera Reference Index–an ongoing series on many aspects of opera (35 volumes now published). He has also written: Benjamin Britten: A Discography, A Celebration of Cincinnati Opera; Innocent Merriment: A Celebration of The Ohio Light Opera, and Muse of Fire: A Celebration of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

As a music critic/reviewer, he writes for American Record Guide (recordings and performances), Opera News, and Opera (London). He has published more than 2,500 reviews. He is frequently engaged as lecturer/speaker and is now in his 29th year as Guest Lecturer at the College of Continuing Education of the University of Cincinnati, and in his 17th year as Lecturer in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (formerly The Institute for Lifelong Education and The Institute for Learning in Retirement) of the University of Cincinnati. He has also been engaged as lecturer/speaker by Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Sorg Opera, Center Civic Opera, and the Cincinnati Symphony, as well as numerous arts and social associations. Mr. Parsons is also often engaged as judge in vocal competitions, as arts consultant, as master of ceremonies, and as a popular raconteur.

He loves travel, a remnant from his times of living in London and Rome. He is also interested in theater (particularly Shakespeare), languages, archeology, and art history, and is active in the Episcopal Church, particularly in matters of spirituality and social justice.

Marcus Küchle – Director of Artistic Operations, Cincinnati Opera

In his role of Director of Artistic Operations for the Cincinnati Opera, Marcus manages all artistic personnel and contracts, including the collective bargaining agreements, for the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians. He is also Co-Artistic Director of Opera Fusion: New Works, a joint program between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, whose goal is the development of new North American operas. Prior to joining Cincinnati Opera, he worked for San Francisco Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany.

Marcus is a frequent judge for vocal competitions and is a panelist for Opera America. He has also been a guest lecturer at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the University of Kentucky School of Music. He was selected for the 2006 class of “40 Under Forty” by the Cincinnati Business Courier and has been invited by Procter & Gamble to participate in business leadership training.

As well as being an experienced arts administrator, he is also an accomplished pianist. Born and raised in Munich, Germany, he studied piano performance at the Richard Strauss Konservatorium and Hochschule für Musik. In 2000, he earned Master’s degrees in piano performance and arts administration from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Marcus had the good fortune to be one of the last protégés of the late Maestro Erich Kunzel, who engaged him for appearances as guest piano soloist with the Southwest Florida Symphony. He has recorded for Hal Leonard and his performances have been broadcast live in concert on WUOL 90.5 Louisville. Marcus particularly cherishes his experiences as chamber music partner with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His appearances as vocal accompanist have taken him to venues in the U.S., Germany, Canada, and Wigmore Hall in London.

In his free time, Marcus enjoys scuba diving and serves on the board of directors of the Cincinnati-based classical music ensembles Catacoustic Consort and Concert:Nova.

He and his wife Annalisa Pappano are in the process of renovating a 130-year-old Victorian house in East Walnut Hills and are proud parents to a newborn girl.

Gustav Andreassen – International Opera Singer

Norwegian-American bass Gustav Andreassen has performed with major opera companies and orchestras throughout North American and Europe, to great acclaim. For his recent portrayal of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Opera News stated: “The extraordinary potent bass of Gustav Andreassen was all black tone—sonorous, distinctive, with fine musicianship and dramatic flair.”

Gustav Andreassen’s roles include Leporello in Don Giovanni at Arizona Opera, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opéra Atelier (Toronto). He sang as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, in Mozart’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony, and in an appearance with the South Dakota Chamber Orchestra in a vocal showcase concert through Sounds of South Dakota. He has appeared in concert as Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin with the National Symphony Orchestra, as Mercury and Ghost of Hector in Berlioz’s Les Troyens with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine at Tanglewood, and performances of Schoneberg’s Gurre-Lieder at the Aspen Music Festival.

Mr. Andreassen’s prolific opera career has included successes at leading opera houses throughout the world. He is a frequent presence at Utah Opera, having performed Daland in Der fliegende Holländer, Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, and King in Aida; and has sung several roles at Arizona Opera, including Daland, Blitch in Susannah, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. He has performed as Sourin in Pique Dame and as Prince Gremin with San Francisco Opera, Osmin with both Boston Lyric Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Wolf Trap Opera, as well as Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Boston Baroque, Florida Grand Opera, and Cincinnati Opera, among others. Internationally Mr. Andreassen has appeared with Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Hamburgishe Staatsoper, De Vlaamse Opera, and in Lucca, Italy, in such roles as Ferrando in Il trovatore, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and King Philip II in Don Carlos.

An avid concert artist, Mr. Andreassen’s extensive list of symphonic engagements include performances of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 with Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, Bach’s Magnificat with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of Liszt’s St. Stanislaus at the Cincinnati May Festival under James Conlon, and both Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Chautauqua Institution, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy with Omaha Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem with Black Hills Symphony, Schubert’s Mass in G with Arizona State Chorus, and Mozart’s Vesparae Solemnes with Masterworks Chorale of Tucson.

In addition to winning the Heinz Rehfuss Singing-Actor Award at Orlando Opera, Mr. Andreassen received three prestigious awards while a graduate student at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music: the Italo Tajo Award, the Norman Treigle/New York City Opera Award, and the Corbett Award. While an undergraduate at the University of Arizona he was awarded first place in the Amelia Rieman Competition and placed second in the Western Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

A native of Oregon, Gustav Andreassen is married to mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi.

Jim Slouffman – President, Wagner Society of Cincinnati

Jim Slouffman has been an artist and educator for more than 40 years.  His teaching career began in undergraduate school when he was awarded a teaching assistantship in his junior year.  He has taught at the college level ever since.  Jim received his BFA degree from Wright State University in 1972 and his MFA degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1976.  He taught at The Art Academy of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, and University of Cincinnati, Evening College, prior to starting his lengthy tenure at Antonelli College.  Jim was with Antonelli College for more than 30 years and had served in many different capacities at the college. Jim had served as Campus Director, Director of Education, and Graphic Design Department Chair. He founded the Alpha Beta Kappa national honor society, Gamma chapter of Ohio, and established the first Associate Degree Programs offered at the college.  Jim was the Director of Education, Emeritus, and was involved in the school’s operations as well as teaching full-time until his retirement in 2009.  Jim was appointed Associate Dean at Kaplan College in 2009 and finally retired from education in 2011.

In his retirement, Jim now devotes the majority of his time between the two arts organizations the he has founded. The Kolping Sängerchor, now in its 23rd year, is dedicated to the preservation of German folk singing in the greater Cincinnati area. The chorus of 75 singers has been on concert tour of Germany four times and has been very active in the Nord-Amerikanischer Sängerbund, which was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849.

On April 18th, 2009, Jim was given “The Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award” in recognition of his efforts on behalf of German-American relations, in recognition of his endeavors in fostering and sustaining friendship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America.

In 2010, Jim founded the Wagner Society of Cincinnati (WSC) to further his passion for the music dramas of the great master Richard Wagner.  Jim presented a lecture to the Board and Guild of the Cincinnati Opera on “Der Fliegende Höllander” in 1996 and was well received. Jim presented “Wagner and His Music: Die Meistersinger Revealed” at the German Heritage Pioneer Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2010. The result: the founding of The Wagner Society of Cincinnati. Interested opera lovers signed up at our display at Cincinnati Opera’s performances of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, June 23 & 26, 2010 at Music Hall. The WSC currently produces two Wagner Musicales a year and Jim has been giving presentations and lectures on the entire Ring Cycle, as well a “Lohengrin”. The Wagner Society of Cincinnati currently has more than 50 active members.