Remembering 'an alternative bayreuth'

By Jean Louis Stuurop, Member no. 75

As part of the occasional remembering of the Society’s history under the Swan Lines logo, we reproduce here from the Society Newsletter No. 4 September 1981 the invitation from Jean Louis Stuurop, on behalf of the committee, to attend an “Alternative Bayreuth” at the Concordia Club in Stanmore, Sydney, starting on 18 October 1981 with 'Der fliegende Holländer'. From this small beginning a major tradition of our Society has grown.

The showing of videos, DVDs and now Blu-ray recordings of Wagner’s operas, or music-dramas if you prefer that term, has become an important part of Wagner Society in NSW Sunday functions. Many of us take it for granted that most functions will be preceded by a showing of at least an act (given the length of most Wagner works) of a recent or historical video recording of a work, or, as recently, an innovative filmic translation of one of Wagner’s works (Joachim Herz’s Flying Dutchman introduced by Graham Bruce). In the early days, the showings came from VHS tapes, but, thanks to the technological prowess of many Members of the Society, we have been able to move more or less seamlessly from one new format to another. Apart from the chance to see a production at times when productions of Wagner’s works in Australia were few and far between, the showing of the recordings were also attractive for members, since they were projected on the large screen of the Sydney Goethe Institut and through the large speakers, which enabled the volume to be increased to a level that many of our neighbours at home would not tolerate! [Editor].



The Wagner Society's aim is to promote Wagner's music. In the words of our Treasurer, Richard King, it is a pity to see people come and go in life without having heard about Richard Wagner.

In view of that we have decided to give you an 'alternative Bayreuth' by running a series of Sunday afternoon concerts, commencing at 2pm, on the afternoons of October 18, November 15 and December 13 in the Concordia Cllub, 231 Stanmore Road, Stanmore.

We propose to push the series off with 'The Flying Dutchman' on October 18, followed, on November 15, with 'Tannhäuser and to close the year (and this stage of Wagner's development), on December 13, with 'Lohengrin'. The recordings to be used will be Solti/Solti/Kempe.

In February 1982 we will start the next stage of Wagner's output with Tristan, Die Meistersinger, the Ring and Parsifal. I hope to use the new digital recording of The Ring which should be coming out next year.

Also I will be introducing some music of Wagner's spiritual brother, Anton Bruckner as well as historical recordings of great Wagnerian singers.

Most of us have Wagner's recordings, but some do not have the equipment or the room to complement them. Then again, some of us live in home units and are unable to 'let go' with our hi-fi setups because of neighbours and sometimes other members of the family! The purpose of this series of concerts is to set you free from all those restrictions so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the glorious music in near ideal conditions.

The Concordia Club, which is opposite Newington College and two minutes from Stanmore Station, has very kindly made available to the Wagner Society, at no cost, their Geselschaft Room for this purpose.

For the technically-minded among you, the room is ideal, being 50' x 28' x 10' with wood panelling all along the walls and wool carpet on the floor. The following equipment will be used: Thorens TD8 Mk II turntable; SME Series 3 tone arm; Shure V15 Mk IV cartridge; Quad 44 pre-amplifiers; Quad 405 quad amplifier; Equaliser; Series 4000 Philips loudspeakers; KEF B139 super woofer and 1000W amplifier for same; Telefunken back loud speakers.

All in all, 13 loudspeakers, of different frequencies, to bring GOOD music, not loud music.

Some of the equipment to be used has been loaned to the Society by Arrow Electronics, 342 Kent Street, Sydney and we offer our grateful thanks.

We hope to create a sort of quadrophonic sound (to try to imitate Bayreuth).

We would also like to point out that the Concordia Club facilities are at our disposal, including an excellent dining room, where Australian and Continental meals are served. After the performance, why not enjoy a good meal and discuss or argue about Wagner to your heart's content. 

If you wish to follow the story of the opera, could you please bring your own synopsis.

On behalf of your Committee.

PS A small contribution would be appreciated to cover cost of insuring equipment.

Jean Louis Stuurop
Member No. 75

Newsletter No. 4 September 1981