In London last June, walking back from Quaker Meeting at Friends House on Euston Road, a lovely Sunday afternoon was made even lovelier by the discovery of Judd Books, on Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury. There, amid the used and dusty books, I found Wagner: A Case History, by Martin van Amerongen. I not only did not have this 1983 volume in my library; I did not even know of its existence, and at...
Contrary to the enthusiastic reception at the time, I left the 2017 installation at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum titled “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics” somewhat intrigued but hardly bowled over. The artifacts and visual slides that the exhibit included seemed familiar by and large; the mandatory headphones piped in recordings of performances and rehearsals […]
As a boundless admirer of Wagner’s art and of much of his artistic thought, I vacillate between horror and laughter when I encounter fragments of his writing on social and philosophical matters. A recent reading of Leon Stein’s The Racial Thinking of Richard Wagner (1950) prompted the latter response. Outside of the world of music […]
Barry Kosky’s new production of Die Meistersinger at Bayreuth is a polemic, suggesting that, in creating the role of Sixtus Beckmesser, Wagner intended to warn his audiences to reject the harmful influence of Jews on the integrity of German art. Kosky asks further whether, in feeding this pernicious strain of German anti-Semitism, Wagner, along with […]
If the entire Ring Cycle now being mounted at the Chicago Lyric Opera has even a fraction of the intellect and panache that the first installment, Das Rheingold, displays, then the Windy City is in for a treat. Between the Cubs and David Pountney, Chicago is having a hell of a good Fall. Musically, the […]