© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Siegfried 2019

News from the Committee

Letter from President Fineske
regarding his recent visit to Bayreuth to attend a Masterclass and Wreath laying organised by the Scholarship Foundation
To Wagner Societies worldwide

Berlin, 27 August 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year, some things are different, but fortunately not everything. The Bayreuth Festival had to be cancelled due to the Corona Pandemic, and as a result the Scholarship holders' days were also cancelled.

However, the Richard Wagner Scholarship Foundation did not wish to completely abandon completely the Scholarship Days and managed to organise an afternoon in Haus Wahnfried despite many hurdles and cancellations. A masterclass, the laying of a wreath at Richard Wagner's grave and a reception in the Siegfried Wagner house were organised, all in the classical style of recent years.

The Foundation was able to persuade Günther Groissböck relatively quickly to take over the Masterclass instead of the originally intended Gwyneth Jones.

 Mr. Groissböck's masterclass began at 13:00 in the Wahnfried Saal with the house fully occupied (1 singing teacher, 2 singers, 12 guests). No further attendees were permitted!

In addition to two singers, a mezzo-soprano and a soprano, a baritone and a tenor also took part.  Mr. Groissböck arranged his coaching, (his first masterclass), with considerable verve, charm and talent. He communicated his enthusiasm for singing spontaneously to the students and to his audience, making the almost four hours fly by. After the course, the "master" also turned out to be a talented pianist on the Wagner grand piano and played short excerpts from his role debut on the Green Hill as Wotan, unfortunately postponed to 2022.
Around 5pm the annual wreath-laying ceremony of the Scholarship foundation and the Richard Wagner Association International took place at Wagner's grave, attended by about 40 guests. Two short speeches by Dr. Specht and the RWVI President addressed the extraordinary situation and expressed the common wish that next year, after hopefully overcoming the pandemic, the Festival will be able to resume normal activities with the Scholarship holders' days.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, a reception was held for all those present, which, due to the number of guests, had to take place in Wahnfried Park. This was particularly pleasant as the rain that had fallen during the masterclass was followed promptly by sunshine and warmth. Among the guests were my predecessor in office Horst Eggers, my First Vice-President Nicolaus Richter, the management of the Foundation and some Chairs of Wagner Societies and their members, who contributed to a lively exchange bringing the afternoon to a wonderful end.

Rainer Fineske