News from the Committee

06.09.2018
Henri Perrier, founder of the WS Lyon has died
Henri Perrier was, with his wife, Chantal, the founder of the Richard Wagner Society - Lyon in January 1982.
This tribute was written by Pascal Bouteldja, current President of the WS Lyon.

His passion, his enthusiasm, his tireless investment, his entrepreneurial spirit and, of course, his erudition have made Henri Perrier an essential figure in Wagner's life not only in Lyon but also in France, with numerous conferences given in French societies, and also internationally, since he was for many years a responsible  member of the Board and a Vice-President of the Richard Wagner Verband International.  Henri worked hard to create a truly international association, the Richard Wagner Verband International, which was founded in Lyon in 1991. He also organised the first singing competition for Wagner voices, with the personal support of Wolfgang Wagner, who was on this sole occasion President of the jury, and the competition of the Cercle de Strasbourg and its president, Maître Louis Oster. The "Wagnerian Voices" Competition will soon celebrate its ninth event. Henri had planned to be in Karlsruhe this October. I know that all the Wagnerians present at this festival of song will spare a thought for him.

A true Wagnerian "soul" of the Cercle Lyonnais for more than 30 years, he enabled the society to experience remarkable growth and influence and brought to it an exceptional level of quality. Thanks to Henri Perrier, privileged links have been established with internationally renowned personalities, such as conductors Theodor Guschlbauer or Carlos Païta, singers Ernest Blanc and Detelf Roth, Paul André Gaillard, former Chorus Master at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Henri Maier, Louis Erlo or Marcel Prawy, playwright at the Vienna Opera, not to mention Wolfgang Wagner and his wife Gudrun, whom he frequently met in Bayreuth.

 Despite a busy professional life and two doctorates (in medicine and science), Henri Perrier always devoted a great deal of time to his passion, being a tireless and inexhaustible explorer of the Wagnerian world. He belonged to the kind of passionate enthusiast over whom Wagner's influence had a profound influence, not only on their artistic tastes but also in their personal lives, with the highly sympathetic characteristic of associating a feeling of affection and gratitude towards the venerated "Master".
 
In 1981, he published a masterful geobiography of Wagner, Les rendez-vous wagnériens.  He liked to say: "Even if it may seem futile, no subject is any longer so when it concerns Richard Wagner".  We owe to Henri a very large number of monographs of profound culture and written in an alert and humorous style: In Bohemia with Richard Wagner, Wagner's Laughter and Smiles, Four Wagnerian Stories, Richard Wagner's Dogs, Richard Wagner in Natural Settings, Wagner and Wine, Monuments to Richard Wagner and The Catalogue of Wagner's Works. His serious research certainly informed more than one distinguished wagnerologist.

Since 1982, he was also been responsible for organising the annual seminar of the Wagner Society - Lyon, which he conducted with rigour and humour, and for publishing the papers in a richly presented and illustrated journal, Wagneriana Acta. And over the past 30 years, more than 2500 pages have been published, which owes a great deal to Henri Perrier, this shadow worker, whose perfectionism obliged him to keep going back to his subject matter, to check the sources, and also to find the iconography relating to each text, in short to carry out long and delicate work in order to present a particularly accurate publication.

He was a Wagnerian, certainly passionate, but always sincere, a simple man and above all a lover of life, who also loved to have fun. And Le Cercle de Lyon will keep in mind for a long time the competitions and the delightful costume parties, where one could see him, dressed, naturally, with the attributes of the Master of Bayreuth. He was also the one who initiated the re-creation and realisation of a 100-minute version of The Ring in the form of a pantomime, Ring Story, performed three times between 1889 and 1992. It would be futile to try to remember everything...