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Wagner Without Fear: Learning to Love—and Even Enjoy—Opera's Most Demanding Genius
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Wagner Without Fear: Learning to Love—and Even Enjoy—Opera's Most Demanding Genius

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Do you cringe when your opera-loving friends start raving about the latest production of Tristan? Do you feel faint just thinking about the six-hour performance of Parsifal you were given tickets to? Does your mate accuse you of having a Tannhäuser complex? If you're baffled by the behavior of Wagner worshipers, if you've longed to fathom the mysteries of Wagner's ever-inc ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 29th 1998 by Vintage
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Tyler True
Aug 31, 2012 Tyler True rated it liked it
I came to William Berger’s Wagner Without Fear with established interest in and a beginner’s knowledge of German opera, including many adjacent fields. I found exactly the part review, part deeper study that I was looking for in the 52-page biography and overview of Wagner’s work. It painted a clear enough picture of Wagner’s life to satisfy an interested reader without boring an initiate. Importantly, it thoroughly connected Wagner’s characteristics and circumstances to key points in his work t ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Taylor rated it it was amazing
See my review of Puccini Without Excuses - all the same applies here. Another really wonderful and accessible journey into the composer and his music. Wagner was a complicated and divisive person, so this was an excellent and honest portrait of his life and work.
Perhaps the only downside to this book is that it created a hunger in me to go to the Bayreuth Festival. One Internet search alone was enough to reassure me that the waiting period for tickets still averages about 8 to 10 years!
Nov 03, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Definitely a must-read for anyone interested in Richard Wagner and/or his operas. The author breaks down what is considered "heavier" opera so that even novice opera goers can have an improved experience at their next Wagner opera.
Aug 23, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The second sentence reads "I have always loved sharing my enthusiasm for opera in general and Wagner in particular with anyone who didn't run away fast enough." That's pretty much all you need to know about why I enjoyed it.
While light on the musical analysis (which is half of what makes Wagner dramatic), I'll offer this to anyone interested in a starting point for discussion on why Wagner's works (NOT Wagner himself) have become a musical and spiritual influence in my life. It's the basics for
Jun 11, 2009 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: music, non-fiction
This book is funny, informative, and very clever. Even if you already consider yourself a Wagner fan, you can learn a lot from this book. It discusses every opera that Wagner composed, and breaks them all down so even us mere mortals can understand. It points out moments to listen for, historical tidbits, and it also makes good fun of it all. I love Wagner - his operas are among my favorites. And this book is a lot of fun. Highly recommended.
May 02, 2009 S rated it liked it
This book is a hoot: hardcore and hypertraditionalist Wagnerites may blanch at the irreverent look at the maestro's music-dramas, but any book that includes hints on when to go to the bathroom and when you're likely to doze off is worth a read for the amusement factor.
Oct 07, 2012 Jill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commentary
Fascinating..... pulled off the shelf and reread to accompany the PBS Wagner week 2 weeks ago
Charles Pearce
Jul 28, 2012 Charles Pearce rated it liked it
A very good non-technical analysis of the operas. I learned a lot from this book.
Adelle Eslinger
Jul 27, 2012 Adelle Eslinger rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent introduction to Wagner!
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