European Wagner Societies join North American Societies in their protest against ticket allocation changes

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 | 10:55:00 am

...or at least one does (although it is confirmed that Wagner Society in London has spoken to the International Association  as other societies seem to have done) : The Wagner Society Of Scotland have given a detailed response to the recently announced changes to ticket allocations to "special interest groups" (which it has been suggested elsewhere would include "The Friends of Bayreuth" while other sources suggest this organisation is excluded). I quote directly, if selectively, below from the Societies news letter (for the full, highly detailed reply, follow the link below where a further rather confusing letter from Bayreuth dated 22 December can also be found)


"This letter (Edit: Original letter from Bayreuth) caused great anxiety and offence. That Wagner Societies, with a proud tradition going back 140 years, should be referred to as 'special interest groups' and placed on a level with 'tour operators', is unacceptable. The timing of the letter raises four serious concerns:

  1.  why were ticket order forms already dispatched to Societies if this decision was planned?
  2.  why was the decision not made until 18October – two days after the deadline for ticket applications at Bayreuth?
  3.  why was there a delay of about 2 months, from 18October until receipt of the letter from Frau Wagner-Pasquier and Frau Katharina Wagner on 15December?
  4.  why was nothing of this discussed with the Praesidium of the Richard-Wagner-Verband International?


Of course our Society does not exist merely to provide a ballot for Bayreuth tickets. We offer an annual programme of at least 10 quality events and produce a scholarly Journal and other publications. Realistically, however, there will be members who leave us because of the withdrawal of the hope for Bayreuth tickets. Thus our Society will lose revenue and will not be able to continue funding things like our Journal, our Scholarship, or our contribution to the East European pool of the Stipendienstiftung. Equally seriously, we pay €2 per member to support the RWVI. For even a small Society like ours this is around €700 income for them per year. The overall effect of a mass reduction in membership of associations would be catastrophic for the RWVI.

Of course something had to be done after the criticisms last spring of the festival box office by the Bundesrechnungshof (Federal Audit Office). But the festival management's response has been slow, crassly insensitive to its main body of supporters, and foolish in its lack of a coherent replacement for the previous allocation scheme.

Fellow members! Fellow presidents and chairpersons of all Societies! Members of the Praesidium of the Richard-Wagner-Verband International! In Prague in May these matters must be addressed and the festival management present in Prague to offer satisfactory solutions."
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