The Wagner Society is a charity dedicated to the advancement of the works of Richard Wagner and is dependent on membership and income from events, donations and bequests. The Mastersingers, a separate organisation, is also a registered charity but one dedicated to the development of young artists wishing to enter the field of Wagnerian performance whilst also supporting all aspects of the works of Richard Wagner as well as other composers. The Mastersingers has no membership and is dependent solely on sponsorship and income from events.
The relationship started in 1996 when the then Bayreuth Bursary Director, Roger Temple invited The Mastersingers to provide a series of events for the Wagner Society to reinforce their lecture programming with live events. This was unanimously approved by the then committee as it would enable the Society to fulfil many of the criteria essential for the Society to maintain its charity status. Subsequently Mastersingers has become the performing arm of the Society and this is something of which I am particularly proud. This synergy provides a perfect balance now throughout the Society programming and both organisations present a strong, united artistic profile whilst maintaining individual characteristics in other areas.
Mastersingers crucially provides a strong base of at least three annual major events in conjunction with the Society: The Rehearsal Orchestra event each Autumn,
The Bayreuth Bursary Day and a weekend at a venue which has a strong musical history such as Aldeburgh.
There is no musical organisation in this country which provides the same or even similar services to those of The Mastersingers, and in my opinion the best way that I can help members of the Society is by ensuring a steady flow of these quality events and at the same time promote a future generation of Wagner artists such as James Rutherford, Amanda Echalaz, Alwyn Mellor, Miriam Murphy to name but a few of our alumni from recent years.
The Mastersingers has strong professional links with other organisations such as the Music Club of London, The Richard Strauss Society, The Wagner Society of Scotland and Arts in Residence as well as with prominent artists in the operatic and concert fields. Our Patron is Sir John Tomlinson, Dame Anne Evans is on the board along with Sir Donald McIntyre and Susan Bullock. These artists are always unstintingly willing to assist us in our work
Malcolm Rivers April 2012