Members Remember

The Wagner Society - 20 Years On Richard King

Through the wonderful synchronicity of life, a chance remark opens doors and creates a new realm of experience. Dr Leonard Hansen, making his first visit to Bayreuth in 1980, asked the Lufthansa staff if they knew of other Aussies making the pilgrimage, preferably someone who had been there before. My friends at the airline mention Murray Smith and me as regular visitors, although we were not booked for that year. We already knew Leonard through our work, but we were unaware of his interest in Wagner.

Newsletter No. 2, April 1981

The first public function of the Wagner Society - the film evening on March 9th - was an unqualified success, with a capacity crowd filling the A.M.P. Theatrette to watch the documentaries covering the Bayreuth and "Ring" centenary. Unfortunately, a few people could not be accommodated in the full house, or could not attend that night, and the Secretary would like to hear from those so inconvenienced. Of those who did attend, many became member of the Society and most made a welcome donation towards the cost of the evening. The Committee extends a hearty welcome to the new members and thanks all members for their patience in waiting for their membership card - here it is!

The Formation of the Wagner Society in New South Wales

It was always our ambition to go to Bayreuth. Numerous inquiries about obtaining tickets were always met with negative replies. Our friend, Richard King, the owner of the Print Room Gallery, had attended Bayreuth numerous times by travelling with Lufthansa German Airlines and obtaining extra tickets by standing patiently outside the Festspielhaus waving a little banner. It was not until our friend Jenny made us aware of the Henebery Personal Tours (Opera and Music Festival Holidays) in Oxford that our hopes were raised. In 1980 we were allotted three tickets through them to three Wagner operas. By coincidence Jenny also recommended that her friend Len Hansen should contact Oxford and when he was successful suggested that he travel with us. This he did.

Bayreuth 1954 - 1955: A personal reminiscence

I first visited Bayreuth in 1954 and again in 1955 with my wife, Aviva. We had just finished our university studies in Perth, WA, had married in Sydney and were off to London in late 1953 as soon as we had saved money for the boat fare. It was like sailing into heaven. The rich concert life, the theatre, the prospect of Bayreuth, of live Furtwängler concerts, created a sense of youthful euphoria which lasted 2½ years before we returned to Perth and the sun.

Another Page from the History of Wagner in Australia - Phillip Bennett remembers

As part of the Newsletter's ad hoc project to record aspects of the history of Wagner performances in NSW and people's personal experiences within that larger history, I am pleased to bring you a reminiscence from Mr Phillip Bennett, retired of Taree.

Growing up in a small country town during the mid to late 1940's wasn't exactly an ideal place to develop a love for the music-dramas of Richard Wagner. Books on the subject would have been almost non-existent, as were recordings. There certainly weren't any society lectures and I doubt if many people in the town would have heard of Richard Wagner let alone be familiar with his music.