Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wagner & Me
I love Wagner's operas, and yet I know that he was anti-Semitic and that Hitler was a great fan. It isn't always easy to separate the man from his genius, but Stephen Fry, a Jew who lost family members in the Holocaust, succeeds in doing just that in Wagner & Me. He examines the man in personal and historical contexts and visits theaters, including Wagner's specially designed theater, where the music was, and is, played. Ultimately, Fry comes to terms with his love of Wagner's masterpieces and is able to step, like a giddy child, into the theater to enjoy the annual Bayreuth Festival. I really liked his analogy, comparing Wagner's music to a stained tapestry. It is still beautiful, but the stain remains.