Mastodon The Wagnerian

Wagner Journal


Featured Book


Follow TheWagnerian on Twitter
Powered by Blogger.


 Twylah Fan Page

Wagner Was A Socialble Chap: Now On Bluesky

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 29 October 2023 | 2:08:00 pm

Sadly, Twitter is not the place it was for those interested in the arts a few years ago - never mind 15 or so. So, we are more active on our Facebook page and on Bluesky Social. Sadly. While it is still in beta, it remains invitation-only (although it is possible to simply go on a ‘waiting list’), but we hope that this changes soon. It seems much more civilised – at least for now – than Twitter. We hope that it can become the reliable news source that Twitter once was. If you are on Bluesky Social, please connect with us at this address  or find

2:08:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90 (Arr. for Violin & Piano by Fazil Say) : Liebestod

From the new album: "Liebestod - Works for Violin and Piano" from Friedemann Eichhorn & Fazıl Say

Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say is joined by his long-standing friend, the violinist Friedemann Eichhorn, in an album of mid-19th-century German repertoire. Influenced by Liszt, Say's ingenious transcriptions of the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde are heard here in world premiere recordings. The composite F-A-E Sonata of Dietrich, Schumann and Brahms is seldom encountered as a whole, while Schumann's Violin Sonata No. 1, though written at a time of unhappiness, contains moments of glorious beauty and intimacy.

1:47:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

From Wascally Wabbit to Wagner

From 2016, but still, who can't resist an excuse for Bugs and Elmer perform Wagner:

Many of the people involved in the Washington National Opera's production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle say their first exposure to opera came from the same source--Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoons

12:00:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

A Concerned Author Suggests What Form The New, 1914, Covent Garden Ring Cycle Might Take

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 28 May 2023 | 2:15:00 pm

Those who critique the arts are ever-abounding in opinions. And the question of what constitutes a “superior” rendition of the Ring Cycle has long been a source of contention. As proof, presented here is a page from “The Illustrated London News" of the 25th April 1914, which employs both words and images to examine various possibilities for the scenic design of Wagner’s magnum opus. Also included is a schedule of all the operas by Wagner that would grace the stage of Covent Garden in the forthcoming season. To complement this, they offer two portraits of the esteemed Herr Johannes Sembach, portraying Siegmund in Die Walküre and the eponymous hero in Lohengrin. Clicking on the image should allow you to read the text. From the archives of the V&A

2:15:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Review: "The Cambridge Companion to Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

This is a review that has been long in the making, as long as Wagner spent on the Ring Cycle - or so it has seemed to me. It started and changed many times in the most stiff and formal way. An early draft begins something like this:

"The Cambridge Companion to Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is a valuable and comprehensive guide to one of the most complex and influential works of art ever created. The book consists of fifteen chapters, divided into four parts: Myth, Aesthetics, Interpretations, and Impact. The contributors are experts in various fields, such as musicology, literature, philosophy, history, and performance studies, and they offer a range of perspectives on Wagner’s tetralogy and its reception.

The first part, Myth, explores the sources and meanings of the myths that Wagner adapted for his epic drama. Jason Geary examines the influence of Greek tragedy and myth on Wagner’s conception of drama and music, while Stefan Arvidsson traces the origins and development of modern mythology in the nineteenth century and its impact on Wagner’s worldview."

Dull! Dull! You could read as much on the publisher’s website. And for those readers that would prefer to read as such, there are many to find. But for us - and by being here I hope to include you - the Ring is a living work of art. The ultimate union of music and theatre, literature and philosophy, mythic and social, the conscious and unconscious. It lights up the dawn of modernity. Without it, and Wagner’s other work, there are no giants such as Strauss, Schoenberg, and Mahler - or at least as we know them. Here lie the seeds of psychoanalysis, maybe cinema and surely the film soundtrack. So any good book on this masterpiece deserves something else. And by goodness is this the book that at last, after many, many tries, begins to do this work justice. Is it perfect? The only perfection can be found on the shining, unreachable heights that hold Plato’s Forms. Nothing on this earth can ever be perfect. But in the wise editorial hands of Mark Berry and Nicholas Vazsonyi, with only a few slips, this is the best we have got so far. So with that wandering, opening out of the way, onto: 

The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen"
Editors: Mark Berry · Nicholas Vazsonyi
Sep 2020 · Cambridge University Press

Der Ring des Nibelungen is a great work of art, a living thing that breathes and burns with the fire of Wagner’s soul. It is a drama of myths and men, of gods and heroes, of love and power, of life and death. It is a music that speaks to the blood and the nerves, that stirs the passions and the senses, that awakens the spirit and the mind. It is a vision that challenges and transforms, that inspires and provokes, that reveals and conceals.

This book is a guide to that work, a companion for those who want to know it and feel it. It has four parts, each with different voices and views. The first part tells of the myths that Wagner used for his drama, how he took them from the Greeks and the Germans, how he made them his own. It shows how Wagner was influenced by the tragedy and the myth of ancient Greece, how he admired the art and the philosophy of Aeschylus and Sophocles. It also shows how Wagner was fascinated by the saga and the legend of medieval Germany, how he explored the history and the culture of the Nibelungs and the Volsungs. It explains how Wagner combined these sources into a new mythology, a modern mythology that reflected his own ideas and feelings.

The second part tells of the music and the drama, how Wagner wrote them and shaped them, how he made them one. It shows how Wagner developed his theory and practice of music drama, how he aimed to create a total work of art that integrated music, poetry, action, and spectacle. It also shows how Wagner composed his music and his drama, how he used leitmotifs, themes, and motifs to create a musical narrative that expressed his thoughts and emotions. It explains how Wagner structured his music and his drama, how he formed a cycle of four operas that spanned from the beginning to the end of the world.

The third part tells of the meanings of the Ring, how Wagner saw the world and the people in it, how he showed their struggles and their choices. It shows how Wagner portrayed the characters in the “world” of the Ring, how he gave them depth and complexity, how he made them human and divine. It also shows how Wagner explored the political implications of the Ring, how he engaged with contemporary issues such as nationalism, revolution, democracy, and capitalism. It explains how Wagner expressed the metaphysical dimensions of the Ring, how he used music to create a sense of depth and transcendence, how he searched for a new religion and a new morality.

The fourth part tells of the responses to the Ring, how people have heard it and seen it, how they have loved it or hated it. It shows how Wagner’s work has been received and interpreted by critics and commentators from its premiere to the present day, how it has generated debates and controversies over its artistic value and its social impact. It also shows how Wagner’s work has influenced subsequent composers and musical genres such as Mahler, Strauss, Schoenberg, film music, and musical theatre. It explains how Wagner’s work has inspired other arts and media such as literature, visual arts, cinema, television, and video games.

The book is well done, well made, well filled. It has many things to say and show about Wagner’s masterpiece. It has many things to learn and enjoy for those who care for it. It is written by experts in various fields who share their knowledge and insight with clarity and passion. It is edited by scholars who have organized it with care and skill. It is illustrated by images and musical samples that enhance its beauty and meaning. It is referenced by notes that provide sources and suggestions for further reading.

It is for everyone who loves or wants to love Wagner’s great work of art. It is for those who are familiar with it or unfamiliar with it. It is a friend for those who seek to understand and appreciate Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.
2:06:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Reviews Of Solti's Recording of the Ring Cycle by: AI, Fredrick Nietzsche and Hanslick.

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 17 May 2023 | 7:23:00 pm

It is nearly impossible to peruse a newspaper these days without encountering someone expressing fear regarding the rise of AI. Much of this apprehension, a concept that science fiction has been exploring since Issac Asimov's works in 1939, seems to have emerged recently due to advancements in AI language models like CHAT-GPT and its main competitor, Google Bard. Considering this, we pondered what insights this program would offer if we requested a review of Solti's recording of the Ring. You can find the review below. But reviewers are fickle creatures and we thus asked it to write a negative review, which it quickly did. However, our curiosity extended further. What if  Wagner's, at first, most ardent admirer, Nietzsche, and most infamous critic, Hanslick were alive in the present day? What opinions would they express regarding Solti's recording? The following results, although their accuracy is uncertain, provide captivating reading.
7:23:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Parsifal Study Day 13 May 2023 Manchester

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 8 May 2023 | 11:26:00 pm


Should you be in Manchester, well worth attending


13 May 2023

9.30am until 16.30

Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester, M1 5BY.

The Societ's president,Derek Blyth, will guide us through

this complex work.

Cost £20 for members, £25 for non-members, £5 for students.

For tickets contact

11:26:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

New Edition Of The Wagner Journal Published

The March 2023 issue (vol.17, no.1) of The Wagner Journal has been published and contains the following feature articles:

• Wolfgang Mende on Wagner’s compositional process as revealed in his sketches
• Genevieve Robyn Arkle on Wagner’s use of the turn
• Derek Hughes on new witnesses of Toscanini’s Bayreuth
• Chris Walton on a bizarre legal case involving wire-netting at Tribschen
• Interview with Keith Warner about his new Meistersinger for Vienna

Plus reviews of: the Ring at the Berlin Staatsoper, Die Meistersinger in Vienna and Der fliegende Holländer in Toronto; Parsifal Suite (constructed and conducted by Andrew Gourlay) and Wagner by Arrangement, vol. 3 (arr. Ben Woodward); DVDs of the Ring from the Deutsche Oper (2021), dir. Stefan Herheim, and Bayreuth (1979/80), dir Patrice Chéreau; Laurence Dreyfus’s novel Parsifals Verführung and Charles Ellis: Wagner’s ’Ring’
11:14:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner & Desire

All things partake in the Oneness of Reality and therefore all things are interconnected. The sacred threads that weave through the various art forms reveal this truth. The interconnectivity of the ancient art forms is best depicted in the paintings of the nine muses of Greek mythology, who dance in a circle with joined hands to the music of Apollo’s lyre. The 19th century German composer, Richard Wagner had excelled in the binding of all art forms into a coherent whole. Through his works, he delved to the essence of the human condition, and along the way, presented a synthesis of the arts such as had never been experienced before. In this short essay, we will explore some of the spiritual and philosophical inspirations for Wagner’s operatic works and how the underlying themes of the Will and Desire can not only shed light on our human drama but reveal the correspondence of music with Nature.


Often the profoundest insights into the mysteries of existence appear to us in the simplest of guises: a crimson-petalled rose, a fractured prism of light, the rotating symbol (e.g. Tai Chi and the Ouroboros). But intimations of such deep significance also appear to us through the most familiar of sounds. In many cultures, the sounding of bells marks life’s transitions---from celebratory marriage bells to the sombre tolling of funeral bells. However, Buddhist temple bells (called Bonsho), have always carried the analogy of the impermanence of Man. The reverberations begin from an indefinable moment and resonate until dissipating into the silence from which it emerged. This interval comprises the totality of a person’s earthly life; a life which comes into being with a great cry, makes a noise in the world for a brief time, and comes to an end as its energy dims and diminishes toward Death. Such reminders of our transient nature impel us to regard life as valuable and intensely meaningful. It also reinforces the need to view ourselves with humility in the face of the cosmos.

The 19th-century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer was one of the first Europeans to encounter the ancient writings of Buddhism and Hinduism. These teachings informed his worldview and his contributions to philosophy. Although his understanding of these religious systems was not particularly orthodox, Schopenhauer became an instrumental philosophical link between the East and West—a divide much spoken about, but ultimately illusory in its deepest analysis. Schopenhauer’s incorporation of Buddhist and Hindu ideas heavily influenced the trajectory of Western philosophy as well as the life and work of German composer, Richard Wagner.

Many Buddhistic themes regarding reincarnation and karmic energies course through Wagner’s operas, particularly in Der Ring des Nibelungen (referred to here simply as The Ring Cycle) and Parsifal. In fact, many scholars, including a practising Buddhist monk, have hypothesized quite compellingly, that Parsifal is in fact the final opera of the Ring Cycle.1 It is argued that several of the major characters from the Ring Cycle reappear in reincarnated form as the main actors in the Parsifal opera, having to counterbalance, through specific meritorious (kusala) karmic deeds, the evil or non-meritorious (akusala) karma they brought into being at the beginning of the drama. These Buddhist notions were not accidentally stumbled upon. Wagner became familiar with Buddhist writings through the works of Schopenhauer which he industriously read and reread throughout his life.

It should be noted that Wagner’s intentions for the Ring Cycle (including Parsifal) was the creation of what he termed a “Bühnenweihfestspiel” or “stage festival play”. Combining the sacred symbolism and ritual of ancient Greek stage tragedy, with the musicality of Beethoven and poetic genius of Shakespeare, and further informed by Buddhist-inspired metaphysics and philosophy, he aimed at a “total synthesis of the arts” (Gesamtkunstwerk). In his operatic works music, theatre, aesthetics, philosophy, and mysticism hold hands and share the stage in portraying the human drama.

10:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now Complete: RHINEGOLD Wagner – Birmingham Opera Company

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 31 January 2023 | 11:16:00 pm

Birmingham Opera Company, known for staging opera in empty warehouses and disused factories, here performs RhineGold in the relatively conventional surroundings of Birmingham Symphony Hall. The production is from August 2021 with the pandemic still dictating so much of our lives. This did not stop the company gathering an orchestra of 87 players from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a stellar international cast performing alongside local volunteers. Conspicuous in his absence is the company’s founding director, Graham Vick, who passed away just as rehearsals were beginning. True to Vick’s spirit, his long-term collaborator Richard Willacy brings an operatic masterpiece close to the community that the company serves, with no fear of social commentary. This is an urban RhineGold; Rhinemaidens are selfie-taking party girls, Alberich is cycle courier, and Wotan is first seen giving a press conference for FNN: Fake News Network. This RhineGold, complete with the new English translation by Jeremy Sams, can be seen as a step closer to Wagner’s vision of a total work of art acting as a lever of change in society.

Avaible Till March, 2033

CAST The Gods: Wotan Eric Greene Loge Brenden Gunnell Fricka Chrystal E Williams Freia Francesca Chiejina Froh Amar Muchhala Donner Byron Jackson Erda Gweneth-Ann Rand The Nibelungs: Alberich Ross Ramgobin Mime John-Colyn Gyeantey The Giants: Fasolt Keel Watson Fafner Andrew Slater The Rhine Girls: Woglinde Zoe Drummond Wellgunde Felicity Buckland Flosshilde Georgia Mae Bishop Orchestra City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Music Richard Wagner Text Richard Wagner Conductor Alpesh Chauhan Director Richard Willacy Translation Jeremy Sams Sets Stuart Nunn Lighting Matthew Richardson
11:16:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: PARSIFAL: Hungarian State Opera

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 24 April 2022 | 7:51:00 pm

Streamed LIVE on OperaVision on 15 April 2022 at 19:00 CET and available until 15 October 2022: 

 Amfortas: Michele Kalmandy 
Titurel: István Rácz 
Gurnemanz: András Palerdi 
Parsifal: István Kovácsházi 
Klingsor: Károly Szemerédy 
Kundry: Andrea Szántó 
Pages: Eszter Zavaros, Anna Csenge Fürjes, Tivadar Kiss, Barna Bartos 
Flower maidens: Lilla Horti, Ildikó Megyimórecz, Lusine Sahakyan, Beatrix Fodor, Boglárka Brindás (student), Melinda Heiter, Bea Egyed, Laura Fehér, Virág Rovó P
arsifal’s mother / Voice from above: Judit Németh 
Grail knights: József Mukk, András Káldi Kiss 
Young Parsifal: Benjámin Taba 
Child Parsifal: Milos Katonka 
Chorus: Hungarian State Chorus 
Orchestra: Hungarian State Opera 
Music: Richard Wagner 
Conductor: Balázs Kocsár 
Director: András Almási-Tóth 
Set Designer: Sebastian Hannak 
Costume Designer: Lili Izsák 
Lighting Designer: Tamás Pillinger 
Choreographer: Dóra Barta 
Chorus Master: Gábor Csiki 
Dramaturg: Enikő Perczel 
7:51:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

March Issue Of The Wagner Journal Available Now

And a rather good one it is. Highly recommended - perhaps essential. It is worth buying for Justin Mueller's item on Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s classic 1982 film Parsifal - alone. Also includes:

Derek Hughes challenges the theory of a conspiracy of silence surrounding anti-Semitism in the Wagner circle

• Justin Mueller on Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s classic 1982 film Parsifal
• Chris Walton on the other Minna Wagner, an actress frequently confused with Wagner’s wife
• Roger Allen’s new translation of Wagner’s important essay ‘On the Destiny of Opera’
• Tribute to Norman Bailey by Niall Hoskin
• Christopher Wintle on Wotan’s offspring

plus reviews of: Stefan Herheim‘s Ring from Berlin, Richard Jones‘s Valkyrie from ENO, Tristan und Isolde in Mannheim, Die Meistersinger at the Met, the Wesendonck Lieder in London and The View from the Villa in Musselburgh; CDs featuring Lise Davidsen, Elīna Garanča and Anna Netrebko; a new study by Anno Mungen of Wieland Wagner‘s wartime productions, David Vernon‘s Disturbing the Universe: Wagner‘s Musikdrama and a revised edition of Paul Dawson-Bowling‘s Wagner: the Complete Experience and its Meaning to Us

7:33:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: The Complete Herheim' Directed Ring From Deutsche Oper Berlin

ARD 1 Has made the entire 2021 Deutsche Oper Berlin Ring Cycle available online, free. This will be until 13, July 2022. Act one of Walkure below as a taster. To watch the entire work, follow this link. For full cast and production details follow this link.

7:16:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: Die Walkure. Longborough Festival Opera 2021

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 17 January 2022 | 5:16:00 am

Only available until 26, February 2022. Watch it, while you can

Following Longborough Festival Opera’s critically acclaimed Das Rheingold, Wagner’s epic tale of Der Ring des Nibelungen continues with Die Walküre, conducted by Longborough’s Music Director Anthony Negus,  semi-staged by Amy Lane. A predominantly British cast.

Siegmund: Peter Wedd
Sieglinde: Sarah Marie Kramer
Wotan: Paul Carey Jones
Fricka: Madeleine Shaw
Brünnhilde: Lee Bisset
Hunding: Brindley Sherratt
Gerhilde: Meeta Raval
Ortlinde: Cara McHardy
Waltraute: Flora McIntosh
Schwertleite: Rhonda Browne
Helmwige: Katie Lowe
Siegrune: Carolyn Dobbin
Grimgerde: Katie Stevenson
Rossweisse: Emma Lewis
Orchestra: Longborough Festival Orchestra

Music: Richard Wagner Conductor: Anthony Negus Director: Amy Lane Lighting Designer: Charlie Morgan Jones Choreographer: Lorena Randi Video Producer: Stagecast Assistant Conductor: Peter Selwyn Répétiteur: Kelvin Lim Language Coach: Dominik Dengler English subtitles: Sophie Rashbrook Head of casting: Malcolm Rivers in partnership with The Mastersingers Artistic Advisor: Isabel Murphy
Reduced orchestration: Francis Griffin
5:16:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Tristan und Isolde: 11, 000 Years Old And Counting

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 31 May 2021 | 3:23:00 pm

The Ain Sakhri Lovers

It takes little for us to shoehorn another story to become one involving Wagner's work. It's also not that difficult, given how much Wagner used mythic archetypes in his work. But as we emerge from lockdown, hopefully, (as to is this site) and places we love reopen, we are taken again to, one of many, a fascinating artefact found in the British Museum. 

3:23:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

3 Months Of Online Wagner Events With The Wagner Society: April to July 2021

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 28 March 2021 | 4:32:00 pm

In these very strange times, various organisations have turned to the internet to continue their work. No less so, than the Wagner Society Of London. While it remains impossible to meet up, they have lead the way here, with a constant stream of online, Zoom events with famous singers and conductors together with lectures. This continues at least until July. All highly recommended.  If you wish to join any of these events or lectures a nominal charge of £5, for members or £10 for none members is made.

For more information visit the Societies webpage here
4:32:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

You Have Four Days To Watch Göteborgsoperan's Siegfried Premier, Free Online

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 27 March 2021 | 10:25:00 pm

We have been lucky enough to catch Daniel Brenna's wonderful Siegfried, live, a few years ago and cannot recommend anything he appears in enough - and this production has much else to recommend it. Provided free by Göteborgsoperan

The film was shot at the Gothenburg Opera in December 2020. The role as the Wanderer (Wotan) is played in act one and two by Fredrik Zetterström and in act three by Anders Lorentzson.

10:25:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Post Lockdown, ENO To Begin New Ring Cycle

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 14 March 2021 | 1:46:00 pm

We, shall be looking at this closely, especially if it is as good as ENO seems to think

Directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, The Valkyrie will form the first part of a complete Ring Cycle over the next five years.

English National Opera (ENO) is to bring Wagner’s Ring Cycle to the London Coliseum, starting with The Valkyrie this Autumn, subject to any further lockdown restrictions. Directed by the award-winning Richard Jones, and marking the first time in more than 15 years since ENO last staged The Ring, all four parts of The Ring Cycle will be staged at the London Coliseum over five years. Rhinegold will premiere in 2022/23 followed by a reprise of The Valkyrie, and new productions of Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods in 2024 and 2025 consecutively. The Metropolitan Opera is co-producing.

The Valkyrie will be an unparalleled theatrical experience, which will plunge the audience into a thunderous storm of human emotion. Jones – who has won 8 Olivier Awards and has had a long and enduring relationship with the ENO – will direct an incredible cast who will rehearse in Covid-secure bubbles. Martyn Brabbins, ENO’s Music Director, will conduct the award-winning ENO Orchestra. The production will be designed by Stewart Laing; with Adam Silverman as Lighting Designer, Sarah Fahie as Movement Director and Akhila Krishnan as Video Designer. ENO have commissioned a new English language translation from John Deathridge.

The Ring feels extraordinarily of the twenty-first century yet mythological at the same time. How can love and empathy exist in a world of vaulting egos vying for infinite power?

Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director, ENO said: “It is thrilling to announce this new ENO Ring Cycle, starting with Valkyrie this Autumn. Richard Jones’s theatrical vision is designed to be emotionally and narratively gripping both for long-time Wagner-lovers and for those seeing this amazing opera for the first time. This epic story of a rebellious warrior maiden who defies the gods in defense of humanity combines myth with modernity alongside some of the most powerful and recognisable operatic music ever written. An unmissable experience for opera lovers old and new, we are delighted to welcome them all to the London Coliseum to join us at the beginning of this Wagner journey through the complete Ring over the next 5 years.”

Richard Jones, Director, said: “The Ring feels extraordinarily of the twenty-first century yet mythological at the same time. How can love and empathy exist in a world of vaulting egos vying for infinite power? Produced by two of the worlds’ great opera companies I can’t imagine a more pertinent operatic response to the times we find ourselves in.”

Stuart Murphy, CEO, English National Opera said: “There is no greater mark of ENO’s ambition than to stage Wagner’s Ring Cycle as we return to the London Coliseum stage following the pandemic. It is fantastic to be doing so with the brilliant Richard Jones. We can’t wait to welcome those new to Wagner into ENO’s auditorium and take them on an unforgettable and thrilling journey.”

Martyn Brabbins, Music Director, ENO said: “Innovation and vibrant theatricality will be front and centre of the new ENO Ring Cycle. With meticulous musical preparation and a cast of the very best singing actors we will bring Wagner’s extraordinary music vividly and beautifully to life. Our aim is to create as powerful, as immediate and as moving an experience as Wagner imagined.”

1:46:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now, Full Documentary: Pierre Boulez - Emotion and Analysis

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 14 February 2021 | 5:01:00 pm

Pierre Boulez and the Berliner Philharmoniker rehearsing and performing Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

The conductor Pierre Boulez (1925 - 2016) best described his relationship with the music of composer Béla Bartók (1981-1945) as a “sympathy between musicians”. The Frenchman has been involved with the music of the Hungarian composer for over five decades. Bartók and Boulez belong to the 20th century’s most influential artists. A key work of Bartók is the Concerto for Orchestra, which was premiered in Boston in 1944. The Film „Emotion and Analysis“ follows Pierre Boulez in his rehearsals of this composition with the Berlin Philharmonic. 

The documentary provides a fascinating look into the methods of the great master of modern music. The rehearsals take place in the spectacular setting of the monastery Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Lisbon which was also the location of the annual European Concert of the Berlin Philharmonic for the year 2003. Pierre Boulez explains in a series of interviews the historical origins of Bartók’s late work, his own personal style of interpretation and his role as conductor as well as his love of composing. 
5:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now, Full Documentary: The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires

It was an ambitious project: staging Richard Wagner's powerful music drama, the Ring Cycle, in a single day. To honor Richard Wagner's 200th birthday in 2012, Latin America's famous opera house, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, hosted this one-of-a-kind production with abridged versions of the individual operas cut down to seven hours. 

The documentary film "The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires," directed by Hans Christoph von Bock, follows each step of this challenging project. Those steps include considerable behind-the-scenes drama - itself worthy of a Wagnerian opera - that accompanied the production. Original director Katharina Wagner quit, as well as the original conductor and some of the cast, and it looked as if the production was doomed. But the film shows how the new director, Valentina Carrasco, got things back on track, allowing Wagner's vision of "The Ring of the Nibelung" to emerge as a Gesamtkunstwerk and an all-encompassing live theatre experience.

4:31:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Bayreuth To Get, At Last, Its First Female Conductor.

A new production of the The Flying Dutchman, to premiere during the 2021 season, will be directed Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv. The 42-year-old conductor will be the first woman to take the podium since the festival was founded in 1876. The role of Senta will be performed by the Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian. The festival's managing director, Heinz-Dieter Sense, is firmly convinced the show will go on next year, even if the fight against the coronavirus continues.

Although Lyniv and Tcherniakov are debutants in Bayreuth, they are by no means strangers to the classical music scene. In their home countries, the Ukraine and Russia, as well as abroad, the conductor and opera director have earned numerous accolades. Nevertheless, both describe the invitation to Bayreuthas a career high point. Tcherniakov and Lyniv have previously worked together on productions at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

Edit: Orginal photo, featured Lola Kirke from her role in "Mozart In The Jungle". We can only blame a webmaster clearly missing said series. Apologies. 

Oksana Lyniv: 'Wagner would be proud'

Lyniv was born into a family of musicians in Brody in western Ukraine. Her teachers at the Music Academy in Lviv advised her against persuing a career in conducting, saying it was not suitable for women. Instead, they recommended she learn to play the flute. Yet Lyniv remained set on her dream of conducting and eventually prevailed. She won third prize at the conducting competition in Bamberg, Germany in 2004 and thus had the chance to continue her studies in Dresden.

From 2008 to 2013 she was the associate chief conductor of the Odessa Opera House, where she made a name for herself conducting the orchestra through daring premieres, including an opera by Ukrainian baroque composer Dmitry Bortiansky. The young conductor continued her career in Western Europe as assistant to Kirill Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In 2017, she became the first woman to take up the post of General Music Director in Graz, Austria

4:14:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Bayreuth 2021 To Go Ahead And How To Get Tickets

At least we hope it will. Will include sections outdoors this year. You will have a very short window to buy, we suspect very limited tickets, online on June 6th.

In addition to the new production of “Der fliegende Holländer” (7 performances), there will be revivals of the productions of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (6 performances) and “Tannhäuser” (6 performances). A special feature of this year’s festival will be two concerts under the musical direction of Andris Nelsons and one concert under the musical direction of Christian Thielemann. In special children's version of  “Tristan and Isolde,” Stephen Gould will take on Tristan, The playing order, as well as full cast information, can be found at

With the “Ring 20.21”, a multimedia project of the Bayreuth Festival, realized by BF Medien, a composition commissioned and sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the Festival is preparing a special event: Three performances of “The Valkyrie” in the Festspielhaus will be framed by commissioned works in various artistic genres, which will mirror, comment on, continue or experience in a new way all parts of the “Ring of the Nibelung”. 

A musical theatre for “Das Rheingold-Immer noch Loge”, which reveals a few surprises, opens in the Festspielpark with a composition by Gordon Kampe based on the libretto by Paulus Hochgatterer, staged and realized with puppets by Nikolaus Habjan. None other than action artist Hermann Nitsch will create “Die Walküre”, and in a multimedia work (Jay Scheib) the audience can put themselves in the shoes of “Siegfried”. An installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota will conclude the cycle in the Festival Park with a work of art for “Götterdämmerung” that is as delicate as it is overwhelming and visionary. 

There will be no advance ticket sales for the 2021 season for all customers this year, which would normally have taken place in the fall. The order form will be sent in the coming weeks to the affected customers of the 2020 season who have waived their right to a refund. On Sunday, June 06, 2021, there will be an online instant purchase on our website. This ticket sale will then be available to all registered customers so that you will still have the chance to purchase tickets for the Festival in the 2021 season.

3:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Opera Meets Film: Yuki Mishima’s ‘Patriotism’ & Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde

We really can recommend all of this series from David Salazar. We have included the full short film below.

Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” is arguably one of the finest cinematic adaptations of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.”

The 28-minute short silent film tells the story of Lieutenant Takeyama, a member of the palace, and his wife Reiko as they commit seppuku when Takeyama is ordered to kill his fellow mutineers. The film, set in the Noh theatre, is underscored throughout by Leopold Stokowski’s Symphonic Synthesis of “Tristan und Isolde.”
3:15:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Opera Meets Film: How ‘Promising Young Woman’ & ‘Tristan und Isolde’

We enjoyed this. Suggested.

Opera Meets Film” is a feature dedicated to exploring the way that opera has been employed in cinema. We will select a film section or a film in its entirety and highlight the impact that utilizing the operatic form or sections from an opera can alter our perception of a film that we are viewing. This week’s instalment features Emerald Fennell’s debut feature “Promising Young Woman.”
3:03:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Is Richard Wagner the Most Controversial and Influential Composer Ever?

 We didn't choose the title, indeed edited it. Ignore some of the inanities of the introduction then read Alex Ross attempt to bring some clarity to the usual tropes. The interviewer warms up well as it continues, also. 

We talked to New Yorker music critic Alex Ross about his new book on the German composer, who has helped shape everything from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Star Wars.

By Cat Zhang

Imagine an episode of Billy on the Street in which the game show’s irascible host, the comedian Billy Eichner, hounds New York City pedestrians with questions related to the 19th-century composer Richard Wagner. “Miss, for a dollar,” he booms, interrupting a frazzled accountant in the midst of eating a croissant. “Do gay people care about Richard Wagner?” The woman lowers the pastry, slowly brushing the crumbs from her mouth. “Who?” “Richard Wagner,” Eichner huffs, gesticulating impatiently. “The opera guy? You know, Tristan and Isolde, the Ring cycle, Parsifal?” “Oh,” the woman replies tentatively. “Wasn’t he a Nazi?”

Wagner, who died in 1883, was one of Hitler’s favourite composers. His “Rienzi" overture blared at annual Nazi Party rallies, and his combination of pan-German nationalism, socialism, and antisemitism—well-documented in his 1850 essay “Jewishness in Music,” published initially under a pseudonym—is said to be a precursor to Nazi ideology. A 1940 article in the New York Times deemed him the “first totalitarian artist.”

But as Alex Ross emphasizes in his voluminous new book, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, there is a deeper debate over who gets to claim Wagner, politically and otherwise. In his early years, Wagner was affiliated with the left—the anarchists, the communists—and forced to flee Germany for his role in the 1849 uprising in Dresden. “You’re left with this divided legacy,” Ross tells me over the phone. Further complicating the story is the composer’s outsized impact on radical figures: philosophers and Black theorists, Soviet film directors and science-fiction novelists. The anarchist Emma Goldman allegedly remarked that Wagner’s music helped women release “the pent-up, stifled and hidden emotions of their souls.” Late 19th-century gay-rights campaigners construed him as a kind of ally; the author Hanns Fuchs classified him as a “spiritual homosexual.”

Ross’s book, then, is not so much about Wagner as it is his enduring influence on non-musicians: how his legacy has been translated and contested across identities, time periods, and artistic mediums. “He was really perceptive about how culture uses myth, and how the same patterns are replicated in one tradition after another,” Ross says. So while Beethoven or Bach may claim more influence over music, Wagner’s impact on neighbouring arts—like novel-writing, architecture, and painting—remains unparalleled. “Wagnerian” is still used as a descriptor for seemingly anything, from Travis Scott surfing on a bird to the quality of Bruno Mars’ sex. The many warring interpretations of Wagner, says Ross, reveal as much about the composer as they do ourselves.

2:48:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Meaning Of The Ring?

There are, as many interpretations of the Ring as there are CDs. Tom Service thinks that at least he knows what it's not about - maybe: 

It’s a question that has taxed musicians, philosophers, politicians and audiences ever since its sensational premiere in 1876 in a specially built theatre in Bayreuth, a temple to the ego and ambition of its creator, Richard Wagner: what does the Ring cycle mean?

Is it an exercise in futility, as the mid-20th-century musical satirist Anna Russell says, in which you end up in the final bars of The Twilight of the Gods exactly where you started four operas earlier, with the same Rhinemaidens, the same river, the same gold? Or is the Ring a philosophical discourse on the limits of power and the limitlessness of love? Or a creation myth that contains its own destruction in the conflagration of the Gods and Brünnhilde’s suicidal immolation on the funeral pyre of her lover, the tainted hero Siegfried?

No one has found a universally accepted verdict. Yet what hasn’t been achieved in 144 years of countless books and treatises, Radio 3 listener Robert Boot attempted in just 10 words: ‘Gods homeward headed’ – that sums up the first Ring opera, Das Rheingold; ‘Close relations wedded’ – that’s Die Walküre, as Siegmund and Sieglinde consummate their incestuous love; ‘Auntie bedded’ – the third opera, Siegfried, since Brünnhilde and Siegfried are aunt and nephew through Wotan, the leader of the Gods; ‘Hero deaded’ – that’s the trajectory of The Twilight of the Gods.

2:28:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Rolling Stone Magazine Includes Wagner Book In Its "Best Music Books Of 2020"

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 7 December 2020 | 11:58:00 pm

It's not that often Rolling Stone Magazine features Richard Wagner, but I think we can never recall it featuring a book about Wagner in its "Music Books Of The Year" round-up. However, this year sees Alex Ross' "Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music" on that list.

Rolling Stone supported its inclusion with these words "Not an opera fan? Unfamiliar with the works of Richard Wagner? Not to worry. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross is one of the best music writers in the business, and his latest is a sweeping (operatic?) history of artistic culture in the West during Wagner’s life. The German composer and his music serve as the focal points around which Ross constructs a nuanced cultural history involving a constellation of bright artistic lights, from Nietzsche and Cézanne to Baudelaire. The author doesn’t neglect Wagner’s vocal anti-Semitism, weaving in a cogent discussion of the complex, often messy interplay between art and artist. This is a spirited history of music — and art in general — amid a particularly fertile historical period."

We waited a long time for Mr Ross' book but it seems even Rolling Stone thinks it was worth it. Well done Alex. 

The full selection can be found here

11:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Richard and the revolutionaries: why did lefties love Wagner? Alex Ross

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 6 December 2020 | 5:58:00 pm

In 1883, the year of Richard Wagner’s death, the theatre critic William Archer noticed a red-haired, bearded youth who was sitting day after day in the British Library with two volumes open on his desk: the French edition of Das Kapital, which Karl Marx had written in the same library decades earlier, and the full score of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The young man was George Bernard Shaw, a staunch leftist who saw no conflict between the composer’s Romantic mythology and Marx’s historical materialism. In The Perfect Wagnerite, his anticapitalist reading of The Ring of the Nibelung cycle, Shaw wrote that the descent into Nibelheim, the realm of the enslaved dwarves, is “frightfully real, frightfully present, frightfully modern”. Both Wagner and Marx bear witness to the “predestined end of our capitalistic-theocratic epoch”.

Shaw’s perusal of Wagner and Marx must have raised eyebrows in 1883. It seems even more surprising now, given Adolf Hitler’s success in convincing posterity that the composer belongs exclusively to the extreme right. The Perfect Wagnerite was no isolated event, however. In recent decades, scholars have reconstructed a school of Wagnerian leftism, which gained purchase in Europe and America at the end of the 19th century. Socialists, communists, social democrats, and anarchists all found sustenance in Wagner’s work. After the Bolshevik revolution, Wagner had a brief vogue as a figurehead of proletarian culture.

The starting point for the Wagner left was the composer’s own revolutionary activity in 1848 and 1849, which forced him into exile for many years. His writings Art and Revolution and The Art-Work of the Future were classic, if eccentric, articulations of the idea that art could play a leading role in the struggle for social equality. His own work became a kind of dream theatre for the imagination of a future state. Of course, other ideologies exploited the composer in the same way. It would be a mistake to say that Shaw and his fellow leftists found the “true” Wagner. But it would also be a mistake to say they misunderstood him.

Although Wagner never mentioned Marx by name, he made scattered references to communism – occasionally positive, more often dismissive. The Wagner biographer Martin Gregor-Dellin heard a Marxist echo in notes that the composer made in the summer of 1849: “A tremendous movement is striding through the world: it is the storm of European revolution; everyone is taking part in it, and whoever is not supporting it by pushing forward is strengthening it by pushing back.” Wagner’s fanfare sounds more than a little like The Communist Manifesto’s introductory lines: “A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism.”

5:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Listen now: Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen – Explorations

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 5 December 2020 | 3:38:00 pm

We recommended this audio exploration of the Ring on release in 2013 - and we still do, although it's still not always easy to get outside of Australia. We noted then: "Recorded for the Decca label by Australian Wagner scholar, author and lecturer Peter Bassett, as an introduction to and commentary on Richard Wagner’s great cycle of four music dramas: Der Ring des Nibelungen. The recording uses extensive musical excerpts from the famous Decca recording featuring the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Sir Georg Solti. The set is distinguished from the fine introduction to the system of leitmotifs recorded by Deryck Cooke in 1967 by addressing Wagner’s magnum opus more broadly through its narrative, intellectual and aesthetic qualities"

If you still have not bought or listened to it, we recently discovered that it is available on only one streaming music site, the classical music only streamer, Primephonic.  Should you wish to listen to it - and try the service for two months free - a good friend of the site has provided a link to a two months free Primephonic subscription.  Click this link to take advantage of this, if you are not already a member.  Failing that, just go out and buy the four cd set. 

3:38:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: World and Revolution of Richard Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 30 October 2020 | 2:32:00 am

From Michigan Opera: an overview of Wagner, his work and times. MOT at Home is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities
2:32:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Richard Wagner and the Twilight of Western Civilization

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 13 October 2020 | 5:29:00 pm

Written By: Peter Isackson

According to Alex Ross in his book, “Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music,” Richard Wagner was more than the composer who dominated German music in the second half of the 19th century. He became a towering cultural icon who transformed the way culturally influential people and even politicians thought about art and the values associated with it.

His influence wasn’t limited to the arts. His reputation had the misfortune of becoming tarnished by an association with Naziism. Wagner himself cannot be held responsible for the association with Adolf Hitler since the composer died six years before Hitler was born. But though Wagner’s anti-Semitism must have pleased Hitler, the Fuhrer admired the music for other reasons, more closely linked with its patriotic mythology. It is no coincidence that Wagner’s art belongs to an era that privileged aggressive racist nationalism in Europe.

Wagner was unquestionably an innovator. Any musician who listens to even random excerpts of his orchestral music and opera scores cannot but be impressed by the subtle complexity of his art. Thanks to his Promethean ambition, Wagner achieved the singular feat of both subverting the inspired individualism at the core of his century’s romantic tradition and fulfilling the romantics’ paradoxical ambition of formulating new principles for achieving collective domination.

He rejected the social drama of the Italian masters of opera — Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti — who worked in a tradition perfected by Mozart. The Italian tradition used melody and recognizable harmonic structures as the structuring factors that permitted the expression of human pathos. Wagner’s sense of drama replaced social conflict with idealized quests aimed at reordering the world. These were the very forces driving European nationalism at the time.


 Wagner clearly broke from recognized traditions and produced an art that was not just different but in purely musical terms always rich with surprises. But was this what people expected from music? One famous ironic remark by a pragmatic 19th-century American sums up Wagner’s effect on the average person, even today. The humorist Bill Nye is credited with the remark, “Wagner’s music, I have been informed, is really much better than it sounds.”

Examining Wagner’s legacy across Western culture right up to modern times, Ross tends to give Wagner too much credit. Convinced that the composer was the agent who shaped the culture around him, he tends to neglect the evidence showing how the ambient culture shaped Wagner. At one point, he claims that in his opera, “Tristan und Isolde,” Wagner “set the course for an avant-garde art of dream logic, mental intoxication, formless form, limitless desire.” In other words, Ross attributes to Wagner the creation of some of the most salient features of the modern world.
5:29:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Grace Bumbry: Black Venus, White Bayreuth, Race, Sexuality And Wagner

Grace Bumbry as Venus in Wagner's "Tannhäuser"

Originally published in German Studies Review, 2012. Written by Kira Thurman, assistant professor of German and history at the University of Michigan.

Black Venus, White Bayreuth: Race, Sexuality, and the Depoliticization of Wagner in Postwar West Germany

African American soprano Grace Bumbry sparked controversy in West Germany when she became the frst black musician to sing at the Bayreuth Festival Opera House in July 1961. This article demonstrates how race served two separate functions for the Bayreuth Opera Festival and its postwar audience. For opera director Wieland Wagner, hiring a black singer was part of a larger agenda to sever Bayreuth’s ties from its most recent and turbulent past. German audiences discussing this historical moment, however, expressed concern that protestors of this performance were preventing Germans from moving forward into a new, democratic, and racially accepting Germany.

When the Bayreuth Festival Opera House began receiving letters warning them that the composer Richard Wagner would soon “turn in his grave,” they knew they had a problem. When hundreds of letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and news briefs fooded the German media, the Bayreuth administration realized they were witnessing the makings of a national scandal: on July 23, 1961, American soprano Grace Bumbry became the first black singer to appear at the Bayreuth Festival, singing the role of Venus from Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser

The event created an uproar, and everyone from revered music critics to housewives in the Rhineland squabbled about the significance of Bumbry’s debut in the hallowed halls of Bayreuth. While music
critics debated the virtues of “New Bayreuth” director Wieland Wagner’s modernist vision, many editorials also chided those who protested the performance by a black singer. One theme that remained consistent throughout the month of July was that Germans were discussing this musical event within a national context.

Race served two separate yet equally fascinating functions for the Bayreuth OperaFestival and its audience in the summer of 1961. For Wieland Wagner, opera director of the Bayreuth Festival and the grandson of Richard Wagner, hiring a black singer was part of a larger agenda to sever Bayreuth’s ties from its most recent and turbulent past and ensure its preservation in the future. Although Wieland vigorously denied that he had hired Grace Bumbry to perform as Venus solely because of her race, this article suggests otherwise. African American soprano Grace Bumbry’s blackness was essential to his production of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser, and to his aesthetic and political strategy to separate Bayreuth from its recent Nazi legacy.West German audiences discussing this historical moment, on the other hand, also practised a different kind of Vergangenheitsbewältigung or coming to terms with the past, expressing concern that protestors of this performance were preventing Germany from moving forward into a new, democratic, and consequently racially accepting Germany. Both the production and the reception of the Bayreuth FestivalOpera House’s staging of Tannhäuser reveal new and sophisticated ways in which race coloured different processes of Vergangenheitsbewältigung in postwar West Germany.

4:54:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: A New, Brief, Wagner Video Biography


A brief, potted, biography of Wagner and his work from Biographics. 

Richard Wagner: A Controversial Titan of Classical Music
4:19:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Stephen Fry talks to Alex Ross About His New Book "Wagnerism"

Stephen Fry joins the Royal Philharmonic Society for a very special conversation – with the author and music critic for The New Yorker, Alex Ross, about his latest book: 'Wagnerism'. 

Just over a decade ago, Alex’s book The Rest Is Noise caused a sensation in its breathtakingly epic account of music’s power and impact through the 20th Century. It won an RPS Award and the subsequent concert series of the same name, based on the book, at Southbank Centre also won an RPS Award in 2014. In September 2020, Alex returns with his biggest book yet: Wagnerism. No mere biography, it sets out to chart the extraordinary influence that one musician – the composer Richard Wagner – can have on the world, on art, on politics, and on so many facets of life. It’s a unique narrative, as much for those wary of Wagner as those who cherish him, not remotely shying from his startling beliefs and veneration in Nazi Germany, as much as his spell over countless artists since from Virginia Woolf to James Joyce, to anarchists, occultists, feminists, religious and politic leaders, and of course Hollywood. Renowned for his own musical passions, Stephen talks to Alex about this cultural colossus, his complex legacy, and his extraordinary, enduring music.

It’s fitting that the RPS should host such a conversation, as Wagner himself played a part in its history, coming to London to conduct all the concerts the Society presented in 1855. 

If you enjoy this conversation, you may like to become an RPS Member, enabling you to access and enjoy other regular conversations involving great musical minds and personalities, amid other opportunities to further your curiosity and love for classical music. Go to the link below to find out more: 

3:35:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Two None Wagnerians Discuss Alex Ross "Wagnerism"

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 7 October 2020 | 11:01:00 pm

In his first book, Alex Ross introduced more people to "modern" classical music then NPR and the BBC had managed to do in both organizations existence. He made Schoenberg, Weber and the band not only interesting but approachable for a listener perhaps more comfortable with Mozart's Greatest Hits, the Four Seasons or the first and last movements of Beethoven's 9th (not that there is anything wrong with any of those). In "The Rest Is Noise" he somehow, stripped away decades of obtuse, perhaps even intimidating, music discussion. This, then,  seemed to allow people to find the sheer joy that exists in "modern" music. I might argue that the growing popularity of "modern" classical both in the concert hall (remember those?) and on record, was begun by Ross' book.  My hope is that he manages to do similar for Wagner in his new book Wagneriams. Not only that he can deconstruct and strip away, many of the common misconceptions about Wagner but he, too, increases his popularity among those that would rarely, if ever, consider listening to Wagner's work. As to whether he does either?  Well, it is perhaps too early to say, but an indicator may be that more general podcasters, with no real interest in Wagner, are discussing this book. An example of which is below, with presenters so unfamiliar with Wagner that it begins with a debate on how to pronounce Wagner's name! 

I think this is interesting to both those with a strong knowledge of Wagner and those without. From "BookMusic.Com".

11:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Two Wagner Books You Must Buy This Month

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 13 September 2020 | 2:45:00 pm

It has been a few years since two books about Wagner and his work have been published in the same month, it has been even longer since both were published by authors of a certain pedigree. However, we are pleased that this month is different.  First to be published is the long, long, awaited new book from Alex Ross: 

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music

According to the author, this is a book that examines:

"For better or worse, Wagner is the most widely influential figure in the history of music. Around 1900, the phenomenon known as Wagnerism saturated European and American culture. Such colossal creations as The Ring of the Nibelung, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal were models of formal daring, mythmaking, erotic freedom, and mystical speculation. A mighty procession of writers, artists, and thinkers, including Charles Baudelaire, Virginia Woolf, Isadora Duncan, Wassily Kandinsky, and Luis Buñuel, felt his impact. Anarchists, occultists, feminists, and gay-rights pioneers saw him as a kindred spirit. Then Hitler incorporated Wagner into the soundtrack of Nazi Germany, and the composer came to be defined by his ferocious anti-Semitism. For some, his name is now synonymous with artistic evil.

Wagnerism restores the magnificent confusion of what it means to be a Wagnerian. A pandemonium of geniuses, madmen, charlatans, and prophets do battle over Wagner’s many-sided legacy. The narrative ranges across artistic disciplines, from the architecture of Louis Sullivan to the novels of Philip K. Dick, from the Zionist writings of Theodor Herzl to the civil-rights essays of W.E.B. Du Bois, from O Pioneers! to Apocalypse Now. In many ways, Wagnerism tells a tragic tale. An artist who might have rivalled Shakespeare in universal reach is implicated in an ideology of hate. Still, his shadow lingers over twenty-first-century culture, his mythic motifs coursing through superhero films and fantasy fiction. Neither apologia nor condemnation, Wagnerism is a work of intellectual passion, urging us toward a more honest idea of how art acts in the world."

As a side note, Ross has produced a free audio-visual resource to accompany this work. This is available free now and can be found at this link. Book published on 15/9/2020.

Next, we have the Mark Berry and Nicholas Vazsonyi edited:

The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen

Again, according to the publishers, this is:

"The Companion is an essential, interdisciplinary tool for those both familiar and unfamiliar with Wagner's Ring. It opens with a concise introduction to both the composer and the Ring, introducing Wagner as a cultural figure, and giving a comprehensive overview of the work. Subsequent chapters, written by leading Wagner experts, focus on musical topics such as 'leitmotif', and structure, and provide a comprehensive set of character portraits, including leading players like Wotan, Brünnhilde, and Siegfried. Further chapters look to the mythological background of the work and the idea of the Bayreuth Festival, as well as critical reception of the Ring, its relationship to Nazism, and its impact on literature and popular culture, in turn offering new approaches to interpretation including gender, race and environmentalism. The volume ends with a history of notable stage productions from the world premiere in 1876 to the most recent stagings in Bayreuth and elsewhere."
2:45:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More