Tag Archives: Cultural Influence

The V & A Offers Exhibit and Book on “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics”

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 […]

Wagner the Irascible Old Bigot

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 […]

Bayreuth Meistersinger 2017

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 […]

Chicago’s Brilliant Rheingold

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 […]