President's Annual Report 2005

President's Report for the Society's 25th year, from 1 January to 31 December 2005, delivered to the Annual General Meeting on 21 May 2006

Dear Members

I am pleased to present the President's Report for the 25th year of the Wagner Society in New South Wales Incorporated.


The Society's 2005 functions held here in the Goethe-Institut included:

  • In February, a "post-mortem" on the Neidhardt Ring staged in Adelaide in November-December 2004,
  • In March, a talk entitled "Women and Loss in the Ring" by Justice Jane Mathews, with a recital by Jessica Pratt accompanied by Sharolyn Kimmorley, and an interview with Jessica conducted by Antony Ernst,
  • In April, a talk entitled "Symbols in Parsifal" by Alan Whelan,
  • In May, our AGM, with a recital and a special 25th birthday party,
  • In July, a talk entitled "Wagner and Film" by Dr Roger Hillman,
  • In August, a special event organized by Miriam Gordon-Stewart which was a fitting celebration in our anniversary year, an interview with Deborah Polaski conducted by Miriam Gordon-Stewart,
  • In September, a panel discussion on productions in Bayreuth in 2005,
  • In October, a talk on Liszt and Wagner by composer Nigel Butterly,
  • In November, a talk entitled "Perception and Reception of Wagner in the Nazi Period" by Alan Whelan, and
  • In December, our end-of-year party.


Our 25 th anniversary was celebrated with a party in May, a special meeting in August with Deborah Polaski, and with a special celebration colour issue of our Newsletter, tracing the Society's history. By a stroke of good fortune, Miriam Gordon-Stewart was hosting an Australian holiday for her friend Deborah Polaski, and as a "thank you" to the Society for providing her with financial assistance over a number of years to further her studies in Europe, Miriam arranged for Ms Polaski to speak at a special function organized in her honour, which was a very special event for those who were able to attend.


The Honorary Treasurer's Report will show that at the end of 2005 our financial position was sound and that we were able to provide over $13,000 in sponsorships and donations during 2005.


We continue our good relations with the German Consulate, the Consul General, and with the Goethe-Institut, and we thank their officers and staff for their continued help and support. We are also pleased to continue to provide financial assistance each year to the Bayreuth Scholar, who is selected by Opera Foundation Australia , and to students from the Conservatorium of Music by way of German Language scholarships here at the Goethe Institut.

There are many people in the Society I wish to thank, and foremost among them special thanks go to the members of your Committee who worked so hard on your behalf throughout 2004 - our Vice President, Julian Block, our Honorary Secretary Mary Haswell, our Honorary Treasurer Michael Moore, and to our committee members Dennis Mather and Terence Watson. I'd particularly like to give Terence special thanks, for the wonderful colour issues of the Newsletter produced in 2005, including one celebrating the Neidhardt Ring in Adelaide in November and December, 2004.

More thanks are due to Elle Rasink, who has catered our afternoon teas; to John Studdert, our web master; to our faithfully Ravens, Camron Dyer and Richard Mason; and to Alasdair Beck, our Public Officer. I'd also like to thank those members, especially Marie Hiscock, who come early and lend a hand with the food or the name tags.


2006 has already seen a Parsifal in Wellington , and there will be a Tristan und Isolde in Perth in November. Opera Australia is rumoured to be planning productions of two Wagner operas, in 2007 and 2008, and there are also rumours that the State Opera of South Australia is planning a Meistersinger in 2008 and a restaging of the Neidhardt Ring in 2010.


Lastly I would like to thank you, our members, especially those of you who come along and support our functions and other activities, including by coming to this AGM. Your continuing interest and encouragement as members of the Society is the reason we are here today. Thank you all.

Roger Cruickshank, 21 May 2006