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RECITAL Christie Eckersley, Vikram Goonawardena, John Woods

Saturday 25 Jun 2022 at 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

The Wagner Society in Qld. is holding a Recital at St. Mary’s Anglican Church – ‘St. Mary’s-on-the-Cliffs’- which was built in 1873 when Wagner was working on Götterdämmerung. This beautiful old Church will host two outstanding singers, both of whom have won an Award from the Wagner Society through the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and who will be accompanied by the renowned pianist John Woods.

Christie Eckersley is a soprano who has performed in the Queensland Conservatorium’s opera productions since 2016, and the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School over the past 5 years, allowing her to work with many conductors and directors including Richard Hetherington, Johannes Fritzsch, Stephen Barlow and Bruce Beresford. She has worked in Italy and Germany. Vikram Goonawardena is a bass who has also performed in a number of operas and has won numerous awards. He was selected as an artist in the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Program in 2021 and has performed in Conservatorium productions as well as in private productions and concerts. They will be accompanied by John Woods, piano, who has performed in Europe and Australia with some of the finest singers, including Jane Eaglen, and has accompanied masterclasses by Joan Sutherland, Janet Baker, Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, Peter Pears and Luigi Alva.

St. Mary’s Church (high on the cliffs overlooking the Brisbane River) is at 455 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. The Recital is from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm on Saturday the 25th June, 2022 and the performers are very happy to join us for a post-performance celebratory drink at the Story Bridge Hotel, about 5 minutes’ drive from the Church. The cost is $30 pp for the Recital, payable either directly to the Society’s Bank Account: Wagner Society in Qld. Inc. BSB 124021 Account No. 22612919 noting your name and ‘Recital’, or by cash at the door. If you are able to attend, please notify the Secretary, Rosemary Cater-Smith at

Franz Schubert
An die Musik
Auf der Donau
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

Carl Maria von Weber “Leise, leise” from Der Freischütz
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “O Isis und Osiris” from Die Zauberflöte
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

Ludwig van Beethoven “Nun sprecht, wie ging’s?” from Fidelio
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

Richard Wagner “Mögst du, mein Kind” from Der fliegende Holländer
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

Richard Wagner “Der Engel” from Wesendonck Lieder
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)

Richard Wagner “Wie aus der Ferne” from Der fliegende Holländer
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)


Erich Wolfgang Korngold Marietta’s song from Die tote Stadt
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)

Richard Strauss “Wie schön ist doch die Musik” from Die schweigsame Frau
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

Giacomo Puccini “Senza Mamma” from Suor Angelica
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)

Giuseppe Verdi “Il lacerato spirito” from Simon Boccanegra
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)

George Gershwin “Bess you is my woman now” from Porgy and Bess
Christie Eckersley (Soprano)
Vikram Goonawardena (Bass)


The influences of Wagner on 'The Waste Land' by T S Eliot - Geoff Fisher

Saturday 23 Jul 2022 at 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the publication of the most influential poem of the twentieth century: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. The year 1922 also saw the appearance of other key works of literary modernism: Ulysses by James Joyce and Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf. As Alex Ross has recently recounted in his Wagnerism, the life and works of Richard Wagner have had a pervasive influence on modernism in all branches of the arts. This influence is particularly apparent in The Waste Land which contains quotations from and allusions to Tristan und Isolde, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal. The Waste Land is dense with cultural and literary references, eschews a single narrative voice and presents a variety of discontinuous scenes. It exemplifies literary modernism at its most radical. Its broad thrust is clear enough though: a disillusioned view of the modern world as sterile and empty, relieved only by a tentative suggestion that a form of redemption might be possible. Geoff’s presentation will offer an examination of Wagner’s influence, direct and indirect, on the modernist techniques and practices employed by Eliot in his poem. A brief biography of Eliot will include how he came to Wagner’s music and how he was attracted to the mythic force and psychological insight of the Wagnerian music drama. The presentation will be informed by musical excerpts which correspond to the texts or scenes from the Wagner operas referenced by Eliot. By siting these references to the operas in the context of the poem, it is hoped to explicate some of themes and patterns of meaning in the poem, as well as revealing how Wagnerian quotations and allusions enhance the dramatic impact sought by Eliot.

You are invited to register for the Meeting by informing our Secretary Rosemary Cater-Smith at or via the ‘Contact’ page of the website, and making a bank transfer to Bank of Queensland, BSB: 124021 Account Number: 22612919. Payments are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Please use your name and the date (eg Jones July) to identify your payment.


'Wagnerism: Art & Politics in the Shadow of Music' by Alex Ross - Stephen Emmerson

Saturday 20 Aug 2022 at 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm


Singers and Acting - Graham Bruce

Saturday 17 Sep 2022 at 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

“ Acting in opera! The term is a contradiction in itself” wrote one critic in the first half of the last century. This is probably a fair comment, given what the same writer described as “that grossly exaggerated form of gesture and expression” which many singers employed during that period. The talk will examine the possible reasons for this, and also consider reactions to the stage appearances of a few famous singers of the time. Visual evidence, of course, is generally lacking but a rare film of a performance in the early 1950s which will be screened will give us a clear idea. More recent times, however, have seen the stage decked with highly convincing, realistic performances and the discussion will consider the reasons for this and provide excerpts from Wagner productions which exhibit the finest of acting performances allied with fine quality singing.


Annual General Meeting followed by DVD

Saturday 22 Oct 2022 at 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Details to follow.


Christmas Lunch tbc

Saturday 26 Nov 2022 at 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Christmas Lunch – details to follow.