News from the Committee

11.06.2017
Opening of the Richard Wagner Congress 2017
At the invitation of the Wagner Society of Budapest, the 2017 International Richard Wagner Congress took place in the Hungarian capital.
In his opening remarks, RWVI President Horst Eggers from Bayreuth, noted that every year the Congress of the great Wagner community from all over the world, currently comprising 125 Wagner Societies, affords a unique opportunity to meet like-minded people and to exchange ideas in an appropriate cultural environment with the aim of arousing and expanding knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the works of Richard Wagner.

President Eggers also pointed out that the Richard-Wagner-Verband International (RWVI), when deciding on the congress venue in any particular year, acts in a neutral fashion according to its mandate as a worldwide association, and does not presume to comment on political events in the countries of its member societies. Regarding the current situation in Hungary the President stated: "It is our duty to promote the works of Richard Wagner in the context of the mutual influence of art and its liberal development!"

Mr Eggers also referred to the long-standing Wagner tradition in Budapest, looking back on its close relationship with the composer. This was due in no small way to his friend and patron, the composer and pianist Franz Liszt, who would later become his father-in-law.

Richard Wagner came to Hungary for the first time in 1863 and gave two concerts in the National Theatre, which were triumphantly acclaimed by the audience.  On his second visit, Wagner and Franz Liszt conducted together at a concert on March 10, 1875, in this Redoute Hall, where our opening ceremony took place.

Shortly after the Second World War, in 1948, extracts from Wagner’s Lohengrin were performed in Budapest in Hungarian under the baton of the conductor Otto Klemperer.

In 1958, 1959 and 1967, the Hungarian Heldentenor, Sándor Kónya, performed the role of Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival. This was one of his finest roles, and earned him his breakthrough at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Horst Eggers then extended a special welcome to the joint patron of the Congress, Professor Eva Marton, who has long been acclaimed internationally as a star Wagner performer. Her performances of the dual roles of Venus and Elisabeth in the Götz-Friedrich production of Tannhäuser at the end of the 1970s became legendary.

Horst Eggers also welcomed the representative of the Wagner family and Ambassador of the Bayreuth Festival for the Wagner Societies, Mrs. Eva Wagner-Pasquier.

Finally he gave a special greeting on behalf of all the Congress participants to the Chairman of the Richard Wagner Society of Budapest Mr Andras Bajai for his work in organising the event.