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No one can seriously dispute Wagner’s exalted place in the history of Western art or his genius.
This is the description given me by my former teacher of his first and only visit to Bayreuth. This was the response of another scientist friend – also in the National Academy of Sciences – to my comment that Sachs final monologue in Die Meistersinger was a racist harangue. This is what Denis Forman, a Wagner partisan to the point of madness, says about the passage in his commentary on the opera in his book The Good Opera Guide. Die Meistersinger excepted (and it’s full of nastiness), there’s the odor of decay about Wagner’s operas. Berlioz’s aesthetic objections to Wagner are discussed at length in David Cairn’s second volume of his magisterial biography of Berlioz (Chapter 26 Wagner).
His (Berlioz) denigration of Wagner in a critical review in the Debats in 1860 likely contributed more than anything else to the Frenchman’s dismissal as a second rate composer, a status that lasted for a century after his death. Stravinsky was harder to dismiss, so he was more or less ignored when he spoke of “the poison of music drama” or wrote about his one and only trip to Bayreuth: “The very atmosphere of the theater, its design and its setting, seemed lugubrious…The order to devote oneself to contemplation was given by a blast of trumpets.
Wagner’s effect on fat heads 150 years ago accounts for the number of hits you get when you put his name into Google, about 2.2 million.
It’s hard to write about Wagner without making fun of him and those devoted to him – so I won’t try.
Here’s where genetic counseling is crucial, both for those who are Wagner positive as well as negative. Finally, if you don’t like Wagner don’t be intimated by gene carrying Wagnerians into pretending you love leitmotifs.
Anything published on my site was written by me unless expressly identified as by someone else. The issue of authorship is solvable by clicking on the link at the beginning of the article which takes you to the Grandi-Tenori page which lists articles by me on that site.
I’ve just spent the last two months devoting a fair amount of time trying to understand and enjoy Wagner. First, The Ring (and maybe all his works) has no rational consistency and is riddled with internal contradictions. Second, he is one of the most loathsome, mentally ill, blackmailing, wife-beating, lying, swindling, and violently racist narcissist I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about.
Other composers have amassed greater wealth in their own life times, for example Handel who was the Andrew Lloyd Webber of his day. Very entertaining essay on this most controversial of composers, even though I disagree with a lot of it. I also admire Verdi, but Wagner’s music, though not as easy to grasp for the unfamiliar,is more compelling for me, and far more original. But his anti-semitism,as reprehesible as it was,never even came remotely close to the insane hatred of Hitler and the Nazis, and he never advocated genocide against Jews or any other group. The final oration by Sachs in Die Meistersinger has absolutely nothing to do with German chauvinism or Nazi tendencies. But Hitler and the Nazis read their own insane chauvinistic ideas into this speech and much else of Wagner. And the Ring, far from being a glorification of Naziism, is a dark tale showing the destructive power of lust for power and riches. There are no Jewish characters in any of the Wagner operas, no discussions of Jews and Judaism let lone anti-semitic statements by any of the characters.
If you concentrate on the music and action, Wagner’s works are not boring at all, at least for me.
True, Wagner was an anti-semite, although there is strong evidence that he had a Jewish father, Ludwig Geyer, whose name he bore when teenaged.
Fascism was an Italian invention and inspired by the Futurists around Marinetti and Boccioni who, together with D?Annuncio, furnished Mussolini with the necessary ideology, who in turn inspired and financed Hitler. As my mother (not a Nazi, possibly with Jewish ancestors) was a music fan with a wide range of preferences I seem to have inherited an Offenbach gene from her. My conclusion therefore is that there must be genes of all kinds, otherwise we would not be here. Whether Geyer was Wagner’s biological or stepfather has been debated for who knows how long, but Geyer was not a Jew according to all Wagner authorities I know of.
That goes also for the ones who were passionately listening to classical music around 1980, a very big percentageof those has today become quite indifferent to it, regardless of their age in 1980. If you PASSIONATELY listen to classical music, why then hating Wagner, why not Mahler, Berloz, Bizet, whatever, I detect predjudices here. And Churchill was not much better, his greatness in the 1940s is overshadowing the fact that he as a human being was quite like Wagner when it comes to unpleasant characteristics.
It is interesting to observe how controversial Wagner still is well over a hundred years after his death.
Remains the question whether Hitler was all that much of a Wagner fan as is commonly believed.
Whenever the Reichsrundfunk spread news from the War, it was not a Wagner motive that sounded, but Liszt?s Les Preludes. If Hitler had known Wagner that well he would also have understood the message of the Gotterdammerung and the Ring, that in the end none of the heroes survive with only Alberich, the cursed dwarf, remaining on the scene.
My contention is that there would certainly not have been a Hitler with only Wagner as an inspirational source.
Hitler also hated horses according to the commentator on a video clip I have of Hitler viewing the Lipizzans performing at the Spanish Riding School in Austria. Well, there are exceptions like Helmut Schmidt (born 1918) and West German chancellor from 1974 until 1982 when he was overthrown by the provincial and corrupt Christian Democrat Helmut Kohl. Weiner rejects Wagner?s ideology and claims to have found many anti-semitic traces in Wagner?s libretti, but personally loves the music, adding that he even met his wife during a Meistersinger performance.
I have not read the book yet since I am currently busy with a number of Hoffmann productions in Germany, but would be interested to hear opinions about it.
Whatever Wagner`s personal views were,I don`t think this has any relevance to his Music ,to his great vision.It`s also said that Beethoven was not the nicest of chaps,but it`s totally irrelevant.
I also don`t see that Hitler`s lack of education is any reason to believe he was incapable of appreciating fine art(I am from a working class background and I love opera). I totally agree with the comments on Sir Winston Churchill,from what I know about him,although he was a great leader and speaker,he was a warmonger,a racist and had very unpleasant views regarding the poorest members of the very Countries he led.
His attempt to perform Wagner music in a Tel Aviv concert hall failed when the owner of the hall, Tel Aviv University, withdrew its original consent after public protests. Of course Wagner?s opera and music cannot be held responsible for bringing Hitler to power, this was a consequence of the historical and political constellation in Europe after World War I and the Versailles Treaty, followed by the Great Depression in 1929, but Wagner?s music may well have inspired young Hitler to become a politician.
Anyway, let us get on with it — a review of Wagner, Wagner Reloaded, and Wagner Revolutions. Firstly, there is no trilogy of feature films or musical works titled “Wagner”, “Wagner Reloaded”, and “Wagner Revolutions”. Secondly, One shall wish you to have a great time on this year’s day of the Northern Solstice, which also happens to be World Music Day. One heard of this recording of a live music performance a few months after its release, and many months after the performance itself. Still, One would like for you to listen to the overture of Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde). Also, here is the overture to Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman), which appears repeatedly during Wagner Reloaded.
You may already have a grasp on the influence of Richard Wagner’s works, if you have ever paid attention to a film score while watching a drama film. Additionally, listening to Apocalyptica’s previous albums provides a more immediate context for the music in this performance. The video recording of the performance is far longer than the audio recording available on CD.


We see a character similar in appearance to Richard Wagner but shirtless, who is the personification of his music. Then, a cyborg is pulled on-stage by a crawling man and a black dog, and offers the family greater riches (or something) in exchange for Wagner. As Wagner takes a final look back at the living world, his music has transformed into the heavy metal version of himself, and stands beside Apocalyptica as they play the final piece of music.
As with Wagner’s works, the music is fairly straightforward and conveys a generally serious intention behind the art.
Unlike Wagner’s works, the various components of this performance are somewhat weak on their own. As for Apocalyptica’s role in the performance, though it is certainly a move forward for them, the music sounds a little forced, and feels like it is just more of the same music that One is familiar with on their previous albums. The Northern Solstice, in case you did not know, is the instant (or rather short duration of time) during the year when the Sun appears at the highest latitude.
This day is also World Music Day, or Fete de la Musique as it is called in France, its country of origin.
In case you are still reading, One states that One has never listened to any of Arch Enemy‘s albums prior to War Eternal.
One has little to say about World Hydrography Day apart from putting forth the notion that hydrography is an important field of study, and that we should support it.
I’d heard about Wagner Reloaded but never checked into what it was about, so thanks for the run-down.
Wilhelm Richard Wagner, known for his amazing operas, was a German composer, conductor, director, and essayist. Knowledgeable opera goers seem to be divided into warring camps, vigorously campaigning for and against the art of the egomaniac of Bayreuth.
This feeling of decline and sickness culminates in Parsifal which makes even Tristan und Isolde an ad for mental health. I sat humble and motionless, but at the end of a quarter of an hour I could not bear any more. He was, as mentioned above, the dominant figure in the intellectual life of the West in the second half of the 19th century.
Autosomal means it is not on an X or Y chromosome and thus is just as likely to affect either sex.
If you are negative and acquire a positive spouse your children have a 50% chance turning out Wagnerian. I frequently don’t put my name on stuff here because I assume, I guess incorrectly, that any reader would know that an unsigned piece here was by me. It read like you were reprinting an article by an unnamed author that was published elsewhere originally, but couldn’t be linked to because it was no longer available at that original site. I was hooked when I turned on BBC Radio 3 by chance just as the first chord of a relay of Das Rheingold from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London was sounding. After all, many great composers were hardly saints,and he was by no means the only composer to be an anti-semite.
All he is doing is saying that music and the arts are necessary for the German people to keep their identity and pride and that they could preserve it this way if under foreign domination. Criticizing the operas for their great length is like criticizing great long novels like War and Peace and Moby Dick for not being short stories. The patriotic tone clearly refers to the French who had been harrassing Germany for over 300 years at Wagner?s time and wrenched large territories from Germany. While my father in the town council saw to it that no Jewish composer?s or librettist?s work was performed in our local theater (except the Merry Widow, whose librettist was Jewish) I have become an ardent fan of Jacques Offenbach?s Tales of Hoffmann. Calling Wagner a monster is a bit thick, how was he supposed to know that his views was to be used in the Nazi creed? As I mentioned above, I am anything but a Wagner fan, but cannot help admiring his genius as a composer and innovator of music in the 19th century. Much more important for Hitler?s rise to power were Houston Stewart Chamberlain?s writings, the US entry into world War I in 1917, the humiliating Versailles Treaty, the 1929 crisis, Mussolini?s example and money, and of course the German right wing establishment who wanted revenge for World War I. We shall be considering only the music recording titled Wagner Reloaded by Apocalyptica with the MDR Symphonic Orchestra, with the corresponding dance performance choreographed by Gregor Seyffert. One shall not apologise for the irrelevance of the music review to the event of the Northern Solstice.
But, those works are unbearably long, and One’s writings about them are even more so.
One tends to dislike music that makes One feel like One is listening to a film score or the music from an opera, primarily because the way the music relates to the visuals feels familiar.
His eldest child, his son, slays a dragon which has Apocalyptica inside its head, Wagner’s music controlling it, and gnomes with glowing eyes riding in pockets on its sides. This is presumably the personification of the same machine that Rage Against The Machine rage against, except that this is Nazi Germany. Though the visuals are memorable, the story is told through often vague and incomprehensible symbolisms. But, perhaps that feeling is because the CD has the wrong track order, and because it is a live performance recording. As to why this day was chosen, there does not seem to be any particular reason apart from it being the Summer Solstice. Go buy that One vinyl album that you have always planned to buy, and proceed to weep because of how expensive it was and because you do not have a turntable. Go watch the music video for the song “Megalomaniac” and remember the horror that is the army of flying ballerina Hitlers.
Go listen to “Juke Joint Jezebel”, the one song by them that you are most likely to remember.
If any of you are familiar with the music of The Kinks, you are welcome to make recommendations.
It is the study of the physical features of water bodies, how they change with time, and the prediction of such changes to provide for safer marine navigation (among other things). I didn’t realize it was such a big event, looks like more people than an olympic opening ceremony going on in there. In 50 years of opera going I have endured harangues beyond number intended to convince reluctant audiences that Wagner’s music is great and that they should surrender to its greatness. When asked by a young composer how to deal with hostile critics, Verdi advised ignoring them. He meant that the experience so moved him that he couldn’t work to full capacity if he allowed himself more than one a year.
Of all the major figures associated with Nazism, no one did more to prepare the cultural soil of Germany for Hitler than did Wagner. God, that eternal jokester, sent us Giuseppe Verdi the same year he produced Richard Wagner.
Wagner’s self-conscious obsession with death, magic, and metaphor is doubtless what made him so distasteful to Isaiah Berlin. Berlioz, in turn, warned Pauline Viardot when he returned her vocal scores of The Flying Dutchman “to take care that the diminished sevenths didn’t escape and gnaw her furniture.” He vigorously objected to the frequency of dissonance in Wagner’s music. Anyone who objected to Wagner could not be taken seriously by the intellectual elite of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which was besotted by both the music and the lunatic prose of the German.
That’s ancient and unimportant information to someone who wants to see a good opera and doesn’t give a fig about hot house philosophy. Verdi gets one third the number of citations as Wagner, but when you look at the number of performances each composer has had at the Met a very different relationship emerges.
No other musical anniversary in my memory brought out the display of affection that the Verdi commemoration evoked.
And if that isn’t bad enough your spouse will either drag you to Parsifal at the drop of a grace note or worse disappear for weeks on end in search of the perfect Ring Cycle.
And as Arnold Schoenberg astutely poined out, cutting them has the ironic effect of making them seem even longer.


Obviously a Wagner and a Nazi gene, which I undoubtedly carry, can be successfully switched off by an Offenbach gene.
That makes me optimistic for the future of mankind considering the violent history of the human race. His antisemitism was regrettable, but was a part of the cultural struggle in Germany in that time, the whole setting in which the then not-yet-united Germany was placed.
Wagner’s pathological hatred of the French and the Jews is a matter of record, and made him the idol of Adolf Hitler. At the annual Bayreuth festival one can see all sorts of German right wing politicians and other conservatice characters, but hardly ever a social democrat or even communist. Kohl, because he is uninterested in art and music generally, Schmidt because he prefers Bach and Mozart. Evidently, the music here has little to do with Richard Wagner’s works apart from being inspired by them.
But, having that feeling saves One from hours upon hours of unintelligible singing with elaborate musical accompaniment, no matter how elegant it may sound.
The earlier albums are mostly cover songs, and the later albums sound a little too aggressive. Either that, or the recorded music on the CD was performed without the accompanying visuals & dance. He then fights off the musical conservatives of his time alongside his music-person, who espouse simplistic folk-music-like compositions over the grand dramatic musical narratives that Wagner envisions. Thus, Wagner is lifted out of his grave by puppet strings controlled by the machine, and conducts music with The Holocaust happening in the foreground. And there are sections of music that repeat throught the performance — the various renditions of “The Flying Dutchman” overture being particularly noticeable. Though the music feels crude compared to traditional acoustic-only orchestra arrangements, it is more accessible. In the northern hemisphere it is the longest day of the year, and the beginning of the summer season.
Then go watch the 1989 anime film Patlabor, clips from which are used as the music video for the aforementioned song. He is a great scientist who has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and whose friendship I severely test whenever I make a joke about Wagner. The former determined to bend audiences to his will, the latter equally determined to please them.
Berlin’s great essay, “The ‘Naivete’ of Verdi” (1968), succinctly outlines the objections to Wagner (though he hardly mentions him by name) while concentrating on what was right with Verdi. Jacques Offenbach, by the way, was a pacifist and anything but a Zionist, converted to Catholicism in order to be able to marry his beloved Herminia and didn?t give a damn about his new (and old) religion. As a human being Wagner was obsessed with his mission, and he most certainly was selfish, whining,overly critical etc. Wagner had incredibly bad taste; most nineteenth century anti-Semites would have been horrified by Auschwitz, but one has the uncomfortable suspicion that Wagner would have wholeheartedly approved. About 30 years later both met again, and they remembered a visit to Wagner?s early opera Rienzi which had greatly impressed Hitler who was almost ecstatic after the opera. Old Man Windbreaker decided to write something for this year’s day of the Northern Solstice. The visuals start out fairly tame, showing Richard Wagner’s childhood, tragic first love, and his discovery of music.
In the southern hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of the winter season. I guess kudos to the organizers that they didn’t just try to ignore the controversial association with the holocaust, and actually addressed it in some way in the performance. Holland's Opus Foundation does not necessarily endorse this website, or any of the content within. They may simply deny it like my friend who knows the libretto of Die Meistersinger by heart, but who doesn’t seem to understand it. But it’s hard to ignore Sir Isaiah’s “the appalling elephantiasis of late German romanticism” (who was the biggest elephant of them all?) or “Verdi’s assured place in the high canon of musical art, which nobody now disputes, is a symptom of sanity in our time.” What is a symptom of insanity? Verdi was still not completely intellectually respectable (Otello and Falstaff aside) when I first started going to the opera – at least by the vestiges of an elite which had accorded Wagner an extra-musical status in Western thought.
As a child he had been showered with Jewish liturgic music as his father was a cantor in the Cologne synagogue. Today you will meet very few ppl that love classical music only, as late as 1980 there were many, many more. There’s no escaping the reality that Wagner is different from every other musical genius and that his personal repulsiveness inescapably contaminates his art, no matter how great it is.
Schmidt is 93 now, a chain smoker with a mind as brilliant as ever, and still analyses the world political situation like few other politicians. In any case, watching it rather than just listening to it is a much more interesting experience.
Wagner gets a lot of money because of his alcoholism (somehow), but eventually dies of a heart attack.
Alternatively, stay home and annoy the sanity out of your neighbours by playing & listening to loud music with only subsonic and ultrasonic components. Or as Mark Twain (Bill Nye might have said it first) said, “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” Nobody finds it necessary to proselytize for Mozart or Verdi. They might have imparted some good sense regarding stagecraft or timing to the self-obsessed German. My chair had made a noise which drew down on me the furious scowls of a hundred pairs of eyes…At last the ‘pause’ arrived and I was rewarded by two sausages and a glass of beer. The bicentennial of both the operatic titans of the 19th century will allow a critical assessment of both composers far enough removed from the rhetoric that clouded their positions in the musical world when their work was still connected to living memory.
Prolonged exposure can be dangerous to your health.” Denis Forman, mentioned above, has listened to a lot of Wagner.
His family mourns while celebrating the large fortune he has left behind, and bathe in bathtubs filled with dry ice. In the short haul it is often irrational, like the stock market, but eventually it sorts everything out.
A Wagner opera is a succession of highlights interspersed with long boring spells which could have been avoided if Wagner’s librettist had owned and used a scissors. But hardly had I time to light a cigarette when the trumpet blast sounded again, demanding another period of contemplation.” (Quoted in BBC Music Jan 2004). But he had contacts to the Wagner family and to Siegfried Wagner?s English wife Winifred, one of the early Hitler fans, from 1923.
So strike one is that your favorite (or least favorite) composer is a repulsive racist egomaniac (read any standard biography for the nauseating details) who was a musical genius but whose bad qualities as a human being could not always be separated from his work. Wagner, who considered Verdi beneath notice, would doubtless be surprised to find the Italian described as opera’s Shakespeare by the music critic of the New Yorker (Alex Ross) during the centennial commemorations of Verdi’s death.
Father Owen Lee, the noted lecturer and writer on opera and a devoted Wagnerian, has taken the safest path – celibacy.
There is a large audience that eagerly wants to hear his music and which values him as much, or even more, than any other composer of operas. In view of the critical reassessment of Puccini now underway (see Julian Budden’s Puccini – His Life and Work 2002), note that he too has passed Wagner in frequency of performance at the Met.



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