Wagner and Beyond

John Deathridge

in Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254534
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934610 | DOI:
Wagner and Beyond

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This chapter examines the phenomenon of the demise of operas. Although not the only one, Wagner was someone who left an indelible stamp on twentieth-century opera. Every figure of importance is said to have reacted to him, and rarely indifferently. The (now underestimated) literary impact of Wagner's manifestos against opera contributed to its supposed demise not only with polemical brevity but also with eye-crossing tedium in longer theoretical treatises that nevertheless seem to have impressed influential figures in the later part of the nineteenth century. Finally, the chapter suggests that Wagner's influence raised the stakes of opera to such a pitch that it proved extremely difficult for those after him to choose the right form of musical dramaturgy, and to reconcile that choice with the heavy demands placed on works of art in the modern era.

Keywords: demise; operas; Wagner; polemical brevity; musical dramaturgy; modern era

Chapter.  5546 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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