The International Association of Wagner Societies (Der Richard-Wagner-Verband International e.V., also known as "Der RWVI") is an affiliation of Wagner societies (Richard Wagner-Verband) that promotes interest and research into the works of Richard Wagner, raises funds for scholarships for young music students, singers, and instrumentalists, and supports the annual Bayreuth Festival. It also sponsors symposia, holds singing competitions for Wagnerian voices, and issues awards for stage direction and stagings of Wagner's operas. The association is a nonprofit organization.
The first Richard Wagner society was launched in Mannheim, Germany in 1871, one year after the premiere of the German composer's opera Die Walküre ("The Valkyrie") in Munich. The brainchild of Wagner's longtime friend, the music publisher Emil Heckel, the first society was a simple, locally conceived venue for celebrating Wagner's music. In the wake of Wagner's difficulties in securing interest in the public subscription for his future Bayreuth Festival, Heckel suggested to the composer that he sponsor additional societies to help secure support. Wagner embraced the idea enthusiastically, and by 1872, societies had been established in Vienna, Berlin, Leipzig and London (the latter founded by Edward Dannreuther (1844-1905), the author of Richard Wagner: His Tendencies and Theories published in 1873).
Wagner's dream, as described in a letter written in 1882, was that his Bayreuth Festival would be free for everyone to attend, however this was never possible because of the extremely high costs to organize and produce it. Nonetheless, based on Wagner's desires, societies refocused their efforts and began making it possible for promising talented musicians to attend. Public interest in supporting subscriptions to fund scholarships was initially tepid, but from 1919 forward, the number of societies increased steadily.
The International Association of Wagner Societies was founded in 1991 in Lyon. Today, more than 26,000 members in 147 societies belong to the International Association of Wagner Societies around the globe. The number of groups under the organization's auspices has expanded considerably in the last fifty years. Wagner societies can be found in all parts of the world, including Venice, Great Britain, Shanghai, Tokyo, Lisbon, Melbourne, Adelaide, Ankara, New York City, Toronto, Cape Town, Bangkok, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the Ottawa/Gatineau area.
The societies are very diverse and offer a wide range of Wagner-related activities, including concerts, lectures, and publishing. The main organization holds a symposium called "Wagner Days in Venice" (Giornate Wagneriane a Venezia) in Italy each autumn.
Every year members of the local Wagner Societies gather for the Richard Wagner International Congress, to share experiences and to plan for the future in sessions. The congress takes place in a different city each year:
Congresses have also taken place in Frankfurt am Main, Bordeaux, Trier, and Budapest.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Bayreuth is a medium-sized town in northern Bavaria, Germany, on the Red Main river in a valley between the Franconian Jura and the Fichtelgebirge Mountains. The town's roots date back to 1194. In the 21st century, it is the capital of Upper Franconia and has a population of 72,148 (2015). It is world-famous for its annual Bayreuth Festival, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented.
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.
Hans Knappertsbusch was a German conductor, best known for his performances of the music of Wagner, Bruckner and Richard Strauss.
Katharina Wagner is a German opera stage-director and was, until April 2020, director of the Bayreuth Festival. She is the daughter of Wolfgang Wagner and Gudrun Wagner, great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner, and great-great granddaughter of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.
The Bayreuther Osterfestival is an Easter Festival held at Bayreuth in Germany. It has the three aims of raising money for cancer charities, providing experience and opportunities for young musicians, and the promotion of international understanding. It is connected with the work of the International Youth Orchestra Academy, and was founded in 1994.
The Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie (IJOA), or International Youth Orchestra Academy, is an international range orchestra for young people, based in Pleystein, Bavaria. It has special associations with the Bayreuth Easter Festival. The Kultur- und Sozialstiftung Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie is a charitable foundation under the auspices of the IJOA. The aims of the foundation are to help and support children suffering from cancer; the promotion of culture—especially music; and promotion of international understanding. The musicians, who come from different backgrounds from all over the world, meet to make music and play together in one orchestra.
Ca' Vendramin Calergi is a 15th-century palace on the Grand Canal in the sestiere (quarter) of Cannaregio in Venice, northern Italy. It was commissioned by the patrician Loredan dynasty, namely Andrea Loredan, and paid for by Doge Leonardo Loredan, with construction starting in 1481. The architecturally distinguished building was the home of many prominent people through history, and is remembered as the place where composer Richard Wagner died.
Iva Mihanović is a German-Croatian soprano opera and concert singer and the widow of the actor, producer, director and Oscar prize winner Maximilian Schell.
Anna Korondi is a Hungarian soprano in opera and concert. She has been an Academic voice teacher at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin from 2013.
Dara Kristin Hobbs is an American operatic soprano, who has appeared internationally, mostly in European opera houses. Her repertoire has focused on dramatic soprano roles in operas by Wagner and Strauss such as Isolde and Ariadne.
Jutta Hanna Edith Hering-Winckler is a German lawyer and patron of music. Since 1977, she has been head of a law firm in Minden as a lawyer and notary. Since 1999, she has been president of the Richard Wagner Society in Minden. She received awards for her civic engagement as the driving force of the Wagner project at the Stadttheater Minden, particularly Der Ring in Minden, which brought her hometown to international recognition.
Liane Synek was an Austrian operatic soprano. She made a career based in Germany, at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Staatsoper Berlin and the Cologne Opera, and appeared at international major opera houses and festivals, such as the Bayreuth Festival. She appeared mostly in dramatic roles such as Beethoven's Fidelio, and Wagner's Sieglinde, Brünnhilde and Isolde. She also performed in contemporary operas, creating the role of Countess de la Roche in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in Cologne in 1965, conducted by Michael Gielen.
Siegfried Vogel is a German operatic bass. Based at the Staatsoper Berlin, he performed internationally at major opera houses and festivals, including the Salzburg Festival and the Bayreuth Festival. He began in Mozart roles, but expanded his repertoire, including world premieres of operas.
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) was a German Romantic composer.
Hermin Esser was a German operatic tenor who focused on roles by Richard Wagner, which he performed at the Bayreuth Festival and internationally.
Josef Angelo Neumann was a German operatic baritone and theater director. First a baritone at major opera houses in Europe, including the Vienna Imperial Opera, he was the managing director of the Leipzig Opera and the Estates Theatre in Prague. He is known as an early promoter of the stage works by Richard Wagner, namely the Ring cycle, which he presented with the sets and costumes of the world premiere at the Bayreuth Festival, first in Leipzig and then on a European tour.
Werner Wolf was a German musicologist and music critic. The acknowledged Wagner researcher was co-editor of Sämtlicher Briefe of the composer from 1967 to 1979. He also presented several opera performances. In 1981 he was appointed professor at the Leipzig University.
Detlef Roth is a German operatic baritone and bass.