Mary's Library

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wagner in der Wildnis

Wilhelm and I spent last weekend at the DC Wagner Society’s yearly seminar in Cacapon, West Virginia.

Jeffrey Swann, the pianist (and Wagner nut), and Simon Williams, the drama professor from Santa Barbara (and Wagner nut), lectured about (yup) Wagner. These guys speak at Bayreuth fairly often, so we’re fortunate to get them to come to talk to us every year.

This sixth opera weekend was devoted to“Parsifal.” In the past we’ve studied each of the four operas in the Ring and “Meistersinger.” Next year we will do “Lohengrin.”

As always we've come home full of enthusiasm, so I’m now re-reading Wagner without Fear – Learning to Love – and even Enjoy – Opera’s Most Demanding Genius (©1998) by William Berger.

In my opinion, this is the best book for the novice Wagnerian, but it also has a lot to say to the veteran. I’ve been listening to a CD of “Parsifal” and reading along in the orchestral score, something I strongly recommend to anyone attempting to make sense of Wagner.

It takes some study, but as Mark Twain said, Wagner's music is better than it sounds.


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