Death of heroic Wagner baritone, 69

Death of heroic Wagner baritone, 69


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2019

The Heldenbaritone John Wegner has died after a struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Born in Germany, he was raised in Australia by an elder brother after his mother died when he was five.

After 11 years with Australian Opera, he joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and started to make regular appearances at Bayreuth, singing five roles in six summers.

He also excelled as Boris Godunov, the Flying Dutchman and Jochanaan in Salome.

He wrote a frank account of life with Parkinson’s.



  • John Groves says:

    This is so sad. I heard John Wegner many times at DOaR. His Wotan, which he recorded, was superb as was his Dutchman. He had a gorgeous vibrant voice and was a lovely guy. Rest in Peace, John

  • This is so sad!

    I saw Wegner as Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites in Düsseldorf…

    “John Wegner overtuigde als Marquis de la Force met zijn grote, zeer imponerende stem.”

  • John Rook says:

    Awful news. He was a lovely bloke and excellent singer. I had no idea he was ill.

  • Penny Hewson says:

    John leaves an incredible legacy in Adelaide. He was our first Wotan in the ’98 Ring, then Alberrich in the ’04 Ring, then an eery Klinsor for our Parsifal in ’02. But besides that he was our Patron of the Richard Wagner Society here in Adelaide. We have kept close contact during the last 5 years and we mourn his loss terribly. Such a wonderful singer and thoughtful actor. Vale dear John.