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...
In the tradition of Bernard Shaw and other greats, the New York Times has advanced the cutting edge of music criticism by introducing a new form – the unnamed photo-caption review of a performance yet to take place. The critic didn’t like it. In the issue of Sunday, September 16, 2018, the Times included an […]
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 […]
The action of Lohengrin is like a set of nesting dolls. As I wrote previously, the overarching action of the play is Henry the Fowler’s effort to persuade the Duchy of Brabant to join with the Saxon armies to defeat an invader from the East. Within this is a simultaneous story of Ortrud, whose false […]
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 […]