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News from the Committee

RWVI Congress 2018 - opening speech by President Horst Eggers
The full text of President Horst Eggers' opening speech to the Innsbruck Congress can be found here. translated into English,

On behalf of the Board of the RWVI and of all 130 Wagner societies from all over the world, I should like to welcome you to Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian province of Tyrol.

This congress offers the great Wagner community from all over the world a unique annual opportunity to meet similarly-minded Wagner lovers in an appropriate cultural setting and environment in which to exchange ideas to increase our knowledge, understanding and appreciation and to awaken and expand our engagement with the works of Wagner.

This International Richard Wagner Congress also affords an opportunity for the city and the country of the Wagner Society organising the Congress – in this case the Wagner Society of Innsbruck-Bolzano in Austria -  to showcase themselves to the international Wagner community, especially as many leading representatives, both from the Bayreuth Festival and from the world of opera, will be present.

Founded in 1992, the Richard Wagner Association Innsbruck-Bolzano was the first "truly" international, i.e. cross-border regional Wagner Society. Its members come from both Innsbruck in Tyrol (Austria) and from Bolzano in South Tyrol (Italy).

In this context, I am pleased to read to you a newspaper report from 1883 on the death of Richard Wagner in Venice on 13 February:

"The transfer of Richard Wagner's body to Bayreuth resembled funeral preparations that would be accorded to a ruler: On 14 February 1883, the coffin was taken in a black gondola to the station in Venice and conveyed from there in a special train consisting of two coaches. The train, in which Cosima was also travelling, halted spontaneously in Bolzano and Innsbruck, as there were delegations of dignitaries and musicians in both towns who wished to pay their respects to the dead composer."

This clearly indicates that in both Innsbruck and Bolzano there were already many dedicated followers of Richard Wagner in 1883, the year of his death.

Innsbruck itself can also reflect on its tradition of maintaining a close relationship to the works of Richard Wagner.  The Tyrol Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck was founded in 1893 and had many successes, especially with their attention to the works of Richard Wagner. Local opera productions attained a high level.  The celebrated Wagner singer Leonie Rysanek, who subsequently performed on all the great stages of the opera world, began her career here in 1949 performing Desdemona and Agathe.

In 1951 at the reopening of the Bayreuth Festival, Leonie Rysanek was engaged by Wieland Wagner to perform Sieglinde and was subsequently gained international acclaim in this role.

After the 2nd World War a production of Tristan and Isolde was staged as early as 1947 by theTiroler Landestheater. On the occasion of the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner in 2013, the Tyrol Symphony Orchestra of Innsbruck dedicated a symphonic concert to the master, performing passages from many of his works.

The members of Wagner Societies all over the world therefore wish to express their delight at being here in Innsbruck to the President of the Wagner Society of Innsbruck-Bolzano, Professor Dr. Ekkehard Kappler.

Professor Kappler, you have rendered a great service to the Wagner. Society of Innsbruck-Bolzano, in keeping the works of Richard Wagner alive.  You have also put together a most attractive congress programme for 2018 here in Innsbruck.

I should now like to wish all of us a busy and eventful time here, and a harmonious Delegates’ meeting.

I therefore declare the International Richard Wagner Congress 2018 in Innsbruck open.