Commissioning of a performance to commemorate Wagner's birthday

Ride of the Valkyries for organ solo | Richard Wagner arr. Alessandro Pittorino

Richard Wagner's thrilling 'Ride of the Valkyries' heard in a new transcription for organ by Alessandro Pittorino. This live recording was commissioned by the Richard Wagner Society of Western Australia for the celebration of Richard Wagner's birthday. Hailed as "Australia's Wunderkind Organist" by ABC TV, Alessandro Pittorino is increasingly becoming one of the most exciting, innovative and invigorating organists of his generation. Pittorino is a Masters graduate of The Juilliard School where he studied with GRAMMY award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, and is the only Australian organist to have graduated from the famed performing arts school. Heralded by Germany s BR-Klassik as an Extraordinary young organist Pittorino has performed extensively throughout the USA and Australia, most notable at NYC s Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, San Diego s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, The Resonant Bodies Festival at Carriageworks in Sydney, The Melbourne Town Hall, and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Visit for more info.

Please go to our Facebook page to view the video clip.

Alessandro Pittorino

            Alessandro Pittorino


A review of the 2019 Chemnitz Ring

Members Colin Binns and Mi Kyung Lee attended a Ring Cycle in Chemnitz earlier this year, as well as a production of Parsifal at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. They share their thoughts on the productions here. A Ring Cycle with a Difference in Chemnitz


2019 Helpmann Awards

We learnt this week that WASO and Asher Fisch were winners of 2019 Helpmann Awards. WASO won Best Symphony Orchestra Concert and Asher won Best Individual Classical Music Performance. We congratulate them on winning these prestigious awards. Both awards were for the Tristan und Isolde performances. We are proud that the Society was a sponsor of WASO's Wagner and Beyond 2 year programme, including the Tristan concerts.


Paull-Anthony Keightley

In 2018, we were able to assist Perth singer Paull-Anthony Keightley in his move to Germany for a contract with the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Paull-Anthony will sing in Lohengrin and his time in Germany has exposed him to the glorious Wagnerian operatic repertoire. Here are some thoughts from him.

"My time so far in this wonderful city has offered me an array of experiences including singing performances of Tosca with Anja Harteros, Marcello Alvarez and Erwin Schrott, seeing Simon O'Neil sing in Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten under the baton of Simone Young at the Staatsoper Under den Linden as well as singing my first roles in a Richard Wagner opera.

The working life at Deutsche Oper Berlin is extremely varied - some days of jam packed full of staging rehearsals and coachings and others allow for time to work on one's own repertoire during practice or by have singing lessons. I have found the environment of the Oper House to be very warm and fast paced. For my performance of Tosca for example I had only 1 hour total of rehearsal before setting foot on the stage. The first time I saw the set I was in front of a full two-thousand seat auditorium standing next to one of my WAAPA-idols, Erwin Schrott!

I have been able to spend much needed time on further developing my voice and musical knowledge with coaches from Deutche Oper as well as numerous Berlin-based teachers and coaches. I used much of this time learning the score of Lohengrin as it was my first encounter singing Richard Wagner's music. His musical language was completely foreign to me and it has been such a thrill to embark on learning this new language.

The cast of Lohengrin at Deutsche Oper included many very experienced Wagnerians. Klaus Florian Vogt sang the title role, a singer I am sure the Richard Wagner Society of Western Australia is familiar with. Camilla Nylund, who also featured in the Staatsoper production of Die Frau ohne Schatten sang Elsa with Günther Groissböck as Heinrich, Martin Gantner as Telramund and Anna Smirnova as Ortrud. We have one more performance of this great work in May as a part of the Opera House's Wagner Festival Week. This week sees performances of Tannhäuser, Rienzi, Parsifal as well as Lohengrin. It will be an exciting week around work as there is such an important legacy of Wagner performances of Deutsche Oper Berlin."

Paull-Anthony Keightley in a <i>Tosca</i> curtain call with Marcello Alvarez and Anja Harteros.     Paull-Anthony Keightley in a Tosca curtain call with Marcello Alvarez and Anja Harteros.


Members at Bayreuth 2018

This year, the Society was able to secure some tickets to the Bayreuth Festival and those tickets were taken up by members Mi Kyung Lee and Colin Binns. Here are some of their thoughts about the productions and the whole experience in Bayreuth. The Turkey on Viagra and other Wagnerian Operas


Richard Wagner Verband International

The Wagner Society is one of five such societies in Australia, all of which are member societies of the Richard Wagner Verband International (the International Association of Wagner Societies, which is commonly abbreviated as the RWVI or “The Verband”). The Association unites regional Wagner associations or societies around the world and currently has 131 member societies. Its purpose is to create interest in and deepen the understanding of Richard Wagner's works, to provide support for the next generation of artists, to support the Richard Wagner Scholarship Foundation founded at the behest of Richard Wagner, to work to ensure the continuing success of the Bayreuth Festival, and to promote international co-operation. The President is Horst Eggers, who is based in Bayreuth, and who sent a message of congratulations to our Society on the occasion of our 30th anniversary in 2016. The RWVI holds an annual Wagner Congress. John Meyer will represent the Society at this year’s Congress in Budapest, Hungary, from 7th-10th June, 2017.

The Festspielehaus at Bayreuth

The Festspielehaus at Bayreuth

9th International Singing Competition for Wagner Voices

This competition, held every three years, aims to identify singers with the potential of becoming Wagner experts after further voice development and stage experience. The competition is therefore open to those at the end of their studies (up to 30 years of age) and those at the beginning of their professional careers (up to 35 years of age). The jury will award a first prize, a special prize and an audience award. All finalists will receive cash prizes. Applications have closed for this year, but if you happen to be in Karlsruhe in September this year, it may be worth trying to get to the Final, a public concert. Please check Wagner Stimmen for more information.

Scholarship Winner

Kate Milligan was awarded the Wagner Society’s Scholarship for 2016 which enabled her to attend performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Melbourne at the end of November last year.

Kate is currently in the fourth year of composition studies in the School of Music at The University of Western Australia. She is also an accomplished violinist and is a regular member of the Western Australian Youth Orchestra and The University of Western Australia Symphony Orchestra.

While in Melbourne, courtesy of The Wagner Society (Victoria), Kate was able to attend the introductory presentations on The Ring given by Heath Lees, and to be present at a workshop conducted by Simone Young with the Australian National Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. It was at our Society’s 30th Anniversary Gala in July last year that Kate was presented with her scholarship by Simone Young, the Wagner Society’s Patron.

Kate attended the Society’s AGM on 19 April and delivered a report on her experience at the Melbourne Ring. An abridged version can be read here.