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John Wegner


Permanent guest of the National Theatre Opera. John Wegner was born in Germany but grew up in Australia. He completed an Associate Diploma in Opera and Music Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia. He performed with the Australian Opera as a Bass for eleven years (1981-92), before moving to Europe to study the Helden Baritone repertoire at the Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe where he made his European debut as Jochanaan in Salome. In 2002, John Wegner performed the role of Simone in Florentinische Tragödie by Zemlinsky for Komische Oper, Berlin. He sang Pizzarro in Fidelio for Staatstheater Stuttgart and also travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil for concert performances of Samson et Dalila. Between 2000-03 John Wegner appeared often at the Staatstheater Stuttgart which was voted Best Opera House in Germany for several years running. His unusual portrayal of Alberich in Götterdämmerung contributed to the awards won for this outstanding production. 2004 was an exciting year as La Scala, Milan asked John to repeat the role of Simone in Florentinische Tragödie. Later that year, John travelled to Adelaide, South Australia for the second production of Wagner’s Ring by State Opera of South Australia. This time John sang Alberich in a new all Australian production which was highly acclaimed by the Australian Entertainment Industry Association. John received a 2005 Helpmann award for “Best Male Performer in an Opera” after his Alberich in the 2004 Adelaide Ring. In 2005 John Wegner was off to Oslo for performances of Scarpia in Tosca and further performances of Alberich in Götterdämmerung in Stuttgart. In 2006 John made his debut with the English National Opera in London singing Prus in the Makropulos Affair conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Since 2000 John has been a member of Deutsche Oper am Rhein based in Düsseldorf and has performed many Helden Baritone roles with this company including Escamillo in Carmen, the King in Hamlet, Klingsor in Parsifal, Scarpia in Tosca, Boris in Boris Godunov as well as Escamillo in Carmen and the Holländer in Der Fliegende Holländer. At the end of 2003, Deutsche Oper am Rhein presented a production of Wagner’s Ring to packed houses and John had great success in performing the Wotan/Wanderer roles. The company took this production to Prague in 2005 with John again singing Wotan/Wanderer. John first performed in the Bayreuther Festspiele in 1998 singing Donner in Das Rheingold. He returned in 2002 as Biterolf (Tannhäuser) and has since sung Telramund (Lohengrin), Kurvenal (Tristan and Isolde), Klingsor (Parsifal), as well as covering most of the major Helden Baritone roles during the festival. In the latter half of 2007 he made his debut as the Villains in Contes de Hoffmann with Opera Australia. John Wegner is renowned for his acting talent and the psychological insights he brings to his roles. His recordings include a.o. Wotan/Wanderer in the Wagner Ring Cycle on the Bella Musica label and Villains - Sinister Songs and Arias by ABC Classics Australia. Update: October 2007