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John Wegner OAM

1950 -

Final year at Parade College: 1967

Born in West Germany, John was just a five year-old boy when he followed his mother across the globe in search of a new life in Australia. When his mother died soon afterwards, John was raised by his older brother in Melbourne.

Steadily adapting to his new environment, John successfully auditioned for the St. Patrick’s Cathedral choir - one of his earliest Melbourne musical experiences. Two years later in 1962 he was enrolled at Parade College.

John later completed an Associate Diploma in Opera and Music Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts. He performed with the Australian Opera as a Bass for eleven years from 1981, 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.

John sang with the likes of Dame Joan Sutherland and performed in many famous theatres worldwide - from La Scala Milan to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and, closer to home, the Sydney Opera House.

A five-time Helpmann and Mo Award winner for “best male performer in an opera”, John was in 2016 awarded the OAM for distinguished service to the performing arts as a world renowned operatic bass-baritone, and as an ambassador for the cultural reputation of Australia.

(inducted 2013)