Where One Ends and the Other Begins; That is the Question

by Suzanne Calvin

(Image courtesy of ofletters.com)

Mark Swed posted an interesting essay on the LA Times’ Culture Monster blog about the hand-wringing among some local bureaucrats over the mounting of a new Ring Cycle and an accompanying Wagner Festival scheduled to take center stage next spring in the City of Angels.

Evidently, fearing that Angelenos might spontaneously shape-shift under Richard Wagner’s pernicious influence into a bunch of swastika-waving, goose-stepping thugs, it’s being suggested -- seriously - that the Wagner festival focus on composers OTHER THAN the obvious 800-pound-gorilla in the room.

Ultimately, Swed hits the nail on the head: Wagner’s unsavory personal views and his unfortunate historical associations (after his death) don’t need to be nervously swept under the rug — They need to be aired, viewed, dissected and much discussed.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not defending the bereted-one in the slightest.  Putting aside the truly thorny issues of his increasingly bizarre philosophies and his anti-Semitic writings, Wagner was a disloyal and manipulative jerk with a king-sized sense of entitlement and a taste for other men’s wives.  But confusing the man with his music — and particularly the uses to which his compositions were put long after his death — is a disservice to both music and history.

That’s my opinion, anyway.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

One Response to Where One Ends and the Other Begins; That is the Question

Sachu says: July 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Congratulations Thomas on your extraordinary aciomplcshment.It is richly deserved. Now the world knows what a great artist you are and we can’t wait to hear more from you in the future.Your acceptance speech was priceless and was the highlight of Grammy night. Knowing Amy was there to share your joy made it all the more special for all of us. Bravo Thomas!

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