Magazine
Latest Issue

Desecrating Wagner

Contemporary Wagner productions "domesticate" the dramas, betraying a fear of sublime experience and the power of myth. Taking myth seriously was Wagner's big idea

By Roger Scruton   April 2003

Wagner’s mature operas concern heroes who move in a mythic realm, and who are prompted by emotions which have been lifted free of ordinary human contingencies and endowed with a cosmic significance and force. In works like the “Ring, Tristan and Parsifal”, the human condition is idealised, as it might be in the narratives and liturgy of a religion. To take these operas seriously is to be drawn into a peculiar modern project: that of remaking the gods out of human material. This project, it seems to me, identifies both the artistic triumph of Wagner, and the hostility with which…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with our newsletter, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect