President's Annual Report 2006

President's Report for the Society's 26th year, from 1 January to 31 December 2006, delivered to the Annual General Meeting on 20 May 2007

Dear Members

I am pleased to present the President's Report for the 26th year of the Wagner Society in New South Wales Incorporated.


The Society's 2006 functions held here in the Goethe-Institut included:

  • On 19 February, Professor Kim Walker, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and Sharolyn Kimmorley conducted a voice coaching class with Catherine Bouchier.
  • On 2 April Alan Whelan spoke on the life and works of Siegfried Wagner.
  • On 21 May, we held our AGM, recital and Wagner Birthday celebration.
  • On 16 July, Terence Watson chaired a thoughtful discussion on the subject of anti-Semitism in Wagner's music.
  • On 17 September, those who attended the Bayreuth festival discussed the experience, including the new Ring.
  • On 15 October, Alan Whelan gave an illustrated talk on Rienzi .
  • On 26 November, Nigel Butterley gave a talk entitled "Faust, Mephistopheles - and composers".
  • In December, our end-of-year party. We made a conscious decision two years ago, when we changed our starting time for functions from 1pm to 2pm, not to show videos at meetings except for the Christmas Party in December, and instead we offer videos of interest before each meeting, usually starting at 1pm.


The Honorary Treasurer's Report will show that at the end of 2006 our financial position was sound if modest, and that we were able to provide three and a half thousand dollars in grants and donations, in addition to the $10,000 made available to Jessica Pratt through the generous support of a private donor.


We continue our good relations with the German Consulate, the Consul General, and with the Goethe-Institut, and we thank the Institut's Director, Klaus Krischok, and its officers and staff for their continued help and support. We also continue to provide financial assistance each year to the Bayreuth Scholar, who is selected by Opera Foundation Australia, and are very please to be able to support 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 2006 - our Vice President, Julian Block, our Honorary Secretary Mary Haswell, our Honorary Treasurer Michael Moore, and our committee members Dennis Mather, Terence Watson, Gaby Bremner-Moore and Alan Whelan.

Mary Haswell won't be standing as Secretary for the rest of 2007, and I'd like to thank her for work on behalf of the Society, and especially her patience with the name tags, which are so useful to us to wear them but are such a trial for the person who has to sort and organize them.

I'd particularly like to give Terence Watson, our Newsletter editor, special thanks. I regularly receive favourable comments from members, and from Societies within Australia and overseas, and I'd like to commend Terence for his hard work on our behalf.

More thanks are due to Elle Rasink, who catered our afternoon teas for part of 2006 and is catering for this AGM, and to Renata Junkers who, with her husband Herman, has taken over the roll and now provides our afternoon teas at regular functions; to John Studdert, our web master, whose work on the web-site is also the subject of praise from other Societies; to our faithfully Ravens, Camron Dyer and Richard Mason; to Alasdair Beck, our Public Officer; and to those members who come early to functions and lend a hand with the food or the name tags.


2007 has a revival in Sydney of Elke Neidhardt's 1998 production of Tannhauser . Although Glenn Winslade is still shown on the Opera Australia website as singing the title role, one of our members spoke to Richard Berkeley-Steele in London and was told by him that he was coming to Sydney later this year to sing that role. We will have to wait and see. Opera Australia is rumoured to be planning a further production of a Wagner opera in 2008, and the rumours I mentioned last year of the State Opera of South Australia staging a Meistersinger in 2008 and a restaging of the Neidhardt Ring in 2010 have not gone away, but to date I have seen no firm details.


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 , 20 May 2007