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Wagner in China by Professor Colin Mackerras AO

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Saturday 19 Jun 2021
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Queensland Multicultural Centre

The final scene of Parsifal from the performance in Nanjing in November 2019.

This talk will cover some history of the performance of Wagner’s works in China. The focus will be on the twenty-first century, since that is when the overwhelming majority of performances have taken place. There will be many pictures and some musical examples to accompany the talk. There will be some themes, such as:

1. Background in relevant Chinese history;
2. Background in the appreciation of Western music in China;
3. Details of the building of Western-style opera-houses in China;
4. Features of Wagner performances in China;
5. Reaction of Chinese audiences and people to Wagner.

The talk will conclude with some speculation about the blending of Wagnerian music and music-drama with Chinese culture and the problems/obstacles raised.

Later this year, during the first of three Symposia to be held on free days of the much-awaited Brisbane Ring, Colin will interview the Ring’s Director and Production Designer, Chinese American Chen Shi-Zheng, and the Costume Designer, Hong Kong born and New York based Anita Yavich. The subject of our 19 June meeting is therefore very timely.

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 guests. Please use your name and the date (eg Jones June) to identify your payment. If you wish to pay other than by bank transfer, please consult Rosemary about alternative methods.