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.
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 Tosca curtain call with Marcello Alvarez and Anja Harteros.
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
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
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.