President's Annual Report 2004

President's Report for the Financial Year 2004

President's Report for the financial year 1 January to 31 December 2004 delivered to the Annual General Meeting on 22 May 2005

Dear Members

I am pleased to present the 25th Annual Report of the Wagner Society in New South Wales Incorporated for 2004.


The Society's 2004 functions here in the Goethe-Institut included:

  • A "post-mortem" on Cathy Dadd's production of Der fliegende Holländer (February);
  • A talk on Berlioz and Wagner by Robert Gay (March);
  • A reminiscence of things Wagnerian in her life by Margaret Whitlam (April);
  • Our AGM, with a recital and birthday party (held then, as it is this year, on Wagner's actual birthday) (May);
  • A survey of Ring Cycle production styles by Antony Ernst (July);
  • As a preparation of the Neidhardt Ring, a talk on recordings of the Ring and the showing of a film on the recording of the Solti Ring, by Dr Jim Leigh (September)
  • A second talk in preparation for the Ring by Dr Terence Watson, Dennis Mather and me (October), and
  • The film, "Sing Faster! The Stagehand's Ring Cycle", followed by an early end-of-year party (November).


After some false starts and frustrating delays, we published Dr Antony Ernst's rewritten Ring lectures entitled "The Once and Future Ring - thoughts on the origins and performance of the Ring". The first copies were available a little over a week before the Neidhardt Ring opened, and this meant that there was little opportunity for sales in the time leading up to the opening of the Ring. Despite this, we are in a position to repay the underwriter of the publication from sales receipts to date.


The Honorary Treasurer's Report will show that our financial position is sound and that in addition to meeting all our normal costs we provided over $14,000 in sponsorships in 2004.


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 selected by Opera Foundation Australia.

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 Presidents, Barbara McNulty and Julian Block, our Honorary Secretary Mary Haswell, our Honorary Treasurers in 2004 Elle Rasink and Michael Moore, to Terence Watson, who is also the Editor of our Newsletter, to Sandy Dudgeon and to Dennis Mather.

More thanks are due to Elle Rasink, who has provided our afternoon teas; to John Studdert, our web master; to our faithfully Ravens, Camron Dyer and Richard Mason; and to Peter Nicholson, our Public Officer.

Neidhardt Ring

2005 closed with three cycles of Elke Neidhardt's acclaimed Ring production in Adelaide, and the Society was proud to be able to sponsor Stuart Skelton as Siegmund and Jennifer Barnes as Grimgerde. Many of you would also have provided private donations and sponsorship for this extraordinary artistic event.


2005's only Australian Wagner opera is a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde at the Brisbane Biennial Festival of the Arts, with Lisa Gasteen as Isolde. I am not aware whether Messrs Gelmetti and Hickox have any plans for Wagner performances in the near future.


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 22 May 2005