March / June / September / December 2019
2019 has begun very positively for the Wagner Society in NSW. We have a very promising program of speakers and performers planned for this year.
Our first guest was the British conductor Anthony Negus, who came to us fresh from conducting the Flying Dutchman in Melbourne. He gave us an outline of his career, commencing with his early experience as an assistant to Reginald Goodall in path-breaking performances of The Ring in English for the ENO. He then made some particularly interesting observations about how to maintain appropriate rhythms and ‘pulse’ when conducting Wagner. He used the piano a number of times to illustrate most effectively what he was saying.
Our second guest was Israeli conductor Asher Fisch, who engaged in a wonderfully animated conversation with the audience on a wide range of Wagnerian topics. Members recall with pleasure his wonderful Adelaide Ring and recent WASO Tristan und Isolde, with Stewart Skelton as Tristan.
The Society is delighted that the attendances were very good for the first two events - 65 and 75 and looks forward to getting similar audiences during the rest of the year. There are promises for the Wagner Society of a number of other interesting speakers during 2019 and also some treats in Wagnerian music.
Since the last President’s Report, the Committee responded to applications from members for Bayreuth tickets for 2019. The following members were successful in getting tickets for Tannhauser, Parsifal, Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde between 25 and 28 August:
Greg and Christine Ellis
David May, who received most of his tickets from the box office
A number of members were interested in attending a performance of Lohengrin on 18 August. Unfortunately it proved very difficult to find out more about this performance. Some information may become accessible to them after they arrive in Germany.
Early though it is in 2019, two Wagner operas have already been performed in Melbourne. First, Melbourne Opera put on an outstanding production of the Flying Dutchman in the Regent Theatre, conducted (as I mentioned above) by Anthony Negus. Then an impressive production of Parsifal by Victorian Opera took place at the handsome Palais Theatre in St Kilda, under the direction of Richard Mills. What a legacy of large and suitable theatres remains in Melbourne and how we all regret the demolition of theatres here!
One concert that we can look forward to will be in the Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, on 2 November. Nina Stemme is returning to Hobart for an ‘All-Wagner Gala’ with fellow-Swede John Lundgren. He has been much praised for his Wagner interpretations at the Bayreuth Festival, Royal Swedish Opera and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. As at the earlier Wagner concert featuring Nina Stemme, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Marko Letonja.
President Colleen Chesterman