Next event: Thursday 27 February 2020, Jane Mathews memorial concert

A memorial concert for The Honourable Jane Mathews AO with British conductor Anthony Negus and singers will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 27 February 2020 at St Columba's Centre, Woollahra. Maestro Anthony Negus has very generously offered to contribute a musical evening in honour of his recently deceased close friend Jane Mathews. He will accompany singers Pamela Andrews, Eleanor Greenwood, Laura Scandizzo and others in a program of works by Wagner, Richard Strauss and others. Program details will be emailed to members closer to the event. The Society is grateful to Leona Geeves for organising the event. 

Members of the public are welcome.



Jane Mathews

Jane Mathews (19.12.1940 - 31.8.2019) was a passionate music lover, a great Australian, and a trailblazer for women in the legal profession: she was one of the first 10 women to study law at the University of Sydney and be admitted to the NSW Bar in the 1960’s, the first woman to be appointed Crown Solicitor in 1978, the first woman to be appointed Judge in NSW, in 1980, and the first woman to be appointed Judge to the NSW Supreme Court, in 1987. Throughout her career, she was a champion of anti-discrimination legislation and a universally respected jurist throughout Australian legal circles.

Jane discovered Wagner and his music several decades ago and was keen to share her enthusiasm for his operas amongst her numerous friends. She had a number of records, particularly of the Ring, and held many parties which would feature sessions listening to Wagner’s music. Guests would provide contributions of food and of course there was also wine to increase their enjoyment.

She enjoyed going to Bayreuth to meet other enthusiasts in the network of Wagner-lovers. She was elected President of the NSW Wagner Society (2010 - 2017) in recognition of her commitment. Her contacts in Australia and around the world were always encouraged to come and talk to our Society. Jane had been ill for a period and her death is a relief from pain. We will remember her as a great enthusiast for music, a long-term supporter of organisations such as the Sydney Symphony and Opera Australia, an extremely generous donor to music in Australia and a committed lover of Wagner’s operas.

(from the September Wagner Quarterly)


Anthony Negus

Anthony Negus studied clarinet and piano at the Royal College of Music London, and gained a music degree at Oxford University. He has worked with many opera companies and has a wide opera and concert repertoire. Working with the legendary Wagnerian conductor and coach Sir Reginald Goodall in the 1970s and 80s was a formative and highly influential period which led to his conducting Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde; and then assisting Sir Richard Armstrong, Rheingold, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung. He has conducted Parsifal for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, and in Luebeck, Germany; after working with Vladimir Jurowski, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg for Glyndebourne. Over many years as Music Director of Longborough Festival Opera, he has established himself as one of the most perceptive and original conductors of the Wagner repertoire, culminating in the highly acclaimed Ring Cycle in 2013, followed by Tristan und Isolde, Tannhauser, and Die Zauberfloete. The 2017 revival of Tristan und Isolde prompted unprecedented critical and audience acclaim. 

In Melbourne, Anthony Negus conducted Melbourne Opera's Tristan und Isolde in 2018 and The Flying Dutchman in 2019. He was the Society's first guest in 2019.