John Wegner passed away in November 2019.
Read tributes to the singer from former Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, and Conductor Brian Castles-Onion.
Born in West Germany, John Wegner is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts.
From 1981-1992 he was a resident principal artist with Opera Australia, where he performed many leading roles including Escamillo (Carmen), Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier) and Boris Godunov.
In 1992 he took up a resident artist’s contract in Karlsruhe making his debut as Jokanaan (Salome) also addingroles including Wotan/Wanderer (Ring Cycle) Prince Igor and Iago (Otello) to his repertoire. He returns regularly to Australia as a guest artist with Opera Australia and the state companies. Roles include Scarpia (Tosca), Escamillo, Der fliegende Holländer (Green Room Awards 1997/2005), Falstaff and Telramund (Lohengrin). In 1998 he performed Wotan/Wanderer for State Opera of South Australia winning the 1999 ‘Opera Performer of the Year’ MO Award and in SOSA’s 2004 Ring cycle his performances of Alberich won him a Helpmann Award.
Much in demand throughout Europe his impressive credits include six seasons at Bayreuth – debuting under the baton of James Levine and most recently as Klingsor (Parsifal). He performs regularly in houses including Bern, Royal Danish Opera, La Monnaie, Prague, Leipzig, Komische Oper, La Scala Milan, Stuttgart, English National Opera, Vienna Staatsoper and London’s Royal Opera House. He has been a member of Deutsche Oper am Rhein since 2000 performing many major roles with this company including Wotan/Wanderer, Prus (The Makropulos Affair), Jochanaan, Escamillo, Scarpia, Boris Godunov and Der fliegende Holländer. He has also guested in Munich, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona and Tokyo.
Concert engagements include the Sigulada Opera Festival, Samson and Dalilah in Sao Paolo, Wotan (Die Walküre) with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Edo de Waart, Jonah (Jonah’s Mission) in Cologne and Melbourne, Der fliegende Holländer with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Beethoven Halle in Bonn, with Köln Philharmonie and with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Awards include a Churchill Fellowship, the Bayreuth Scholarship, four Helpmann Awards, two Green Room Awards and Komercni Banka award for Best Performance of the 2007 Season at the National Theatre, Prague.
John Wegner’s recordings include Wotan/Wanderer/Ring Cycle (Bella Musica), Alberich/The Ring (Melba Recordings), Villains (ABC Classics), Prus and Jochanaan (Chandos).