President's Report February 2001

Dear Members

Welcome back to a new year that promises much for Wagner lovers. We look forward to three Opera productions, Lohengrin in Sydney, Parsifal in Adelaide and Tristan und Isolde in Melbourne. We have A Reserve block bookings for Lohengrin on 17 August and Tristan und Isolde on 23 November. An application form is included in this Newsletter. You may be interested to know that 16 members of the South Australian Wagner Society will join us in August and we have arranged a booking for 25 New Zealand Wagnerians for September.

After the great success of last year's Richard Wagner birthday lunch, we will return to the Women's Club and our guest speaker will be Rita Hunter, one of our Honorary Life Members and a great Brünnhilde.

Rosemary Cater-Smith and Alec Cater have offered to donate a weekend for two guest at their lovely home Catersfield at Pokolbin in the Hunter valley as a prize in the raffle at the birthday lunch. A second prize will be a donated Wagner watch. These are wonderful prizes and in particular we thank Rosemary and Alec for their generosity.

As well, Rosemary and Alec have offered Catersfield as a venue for a weekend seminar and those of you who attended our first Seminar in the Hunter will appreciate how gladly we accepted. Fortuitously, the same day I received their letter I also received an email from Simon Williams, a friend from America advising that he would be in Australia in July. A hectic round of phone calls and emails and we have arranged a Seminar on Parsifal in July.

You will find details in the Newsletter but I do suggest that if you are interested you send in your deposit as soon a possible because accommodation is limited. Simon will give lectures on Saturday morning and afternoon and there will be plenty of time for informal discussion. Simon has also agreed to speak at the Annual General Meeting in July and Warwick Fyfe and Stephen Mould are preparing a recital of new material for us, also for the AGM.

A third seminar - on Lohengin - has been arranged in conjunction with the Art Gallery of NSW on 4 August and details of speakers will be available in the next Newsletter.

The Committee has given long consideration to the views expressed by members at last year's AGM about the allocation of Bayreuth tickets. This review became urgent as a problem we have faced in previous years became a serious issue. Some members have applied to the Society for tickets at the same time as they applied direct to Bayreuth. The result was that several people allocated tickets at the Ballot subsequently advised that they no longer required their Society tickets. Reluctantly, the Committee decided that in future the cost of the tickets would be charged at the time of the application each year with refunds being given to those who are not successful. This is a common condition set by Wagner Societies in America and Europe and we hope that members will appreciate the necessity for its introduction.

Julian Block has joined the Committee as an additional member. He brings very welcome legal expertise to our deliberations.

I would like to remind members how important donations are to achieving our goal of promoting the works of Richard Wagner. This year the Society will be donating to the South Australian Opera Company, to sponsor Elaine McKrill in Parsifal, and to Opera Australia to support their production of Lohengrin. Donations to the Society are tax deductible, so help yourselves as well as the cause of Wagner.

23 February 2001