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Views 2008

Wagner Revisited via the Stendhal Syndrome

Terence Watson

Past issues of this Newsletter have carried articles about the impact that Wagner has had on other artists, mainly poets and dramatists. This time we look at Terrence McNally's play The Stendhal Syndrome . Members may be familiar with McNally's very successful 1995 play Masterclass , based on Maria Callas' masterclasses at the Julliard School of Music in New York City. That play also had a very successful season at the Sydney Theatre Company with Robyn Nevin giving a powerful performance as the Diva.

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Wagner and Friends

by Barbara Brady

(Note: In previous year articles links are not active)

No, that is not an oxymoron! Richard Wagner had numerous friends who recognized his genius and admired and supported him - and many of them were steadfast throughout his lifetime, regardless of his habit of seducing their wallets and wives. Those friends who fell by the wayside were the ones who declined on grounds that Wagner could never understand, to pledge yet further funds. Not all of Wagner's penury in his early career was his own fault. Performance copyright law was rudimentary in Germany before 1870 so opera composers were paid only for the first performance of a run whereas the singers were paid for each performance. The lack of copyright protection also meant that music could be pirated, bringing profit to the publisher but none to the composer. This made it difficult for emerging composers to make a living unless they had other means of support. In Wagner's case those means were massive loans, sometimes set against rights to future operas.

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Book Notice: 'The Redeemer Reborn: Parsifal As The Fifth Opera Of Wagner's Ring' By Paul Schofield

Note: Links in previous year articles are not active)

On a website for the Triplicate News ( http://www.triplicate.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=7507 ) your Editor has come across this book, published on 2 February 2008 by Amadeus Press. According to the Editor of Triplicate News, Matthew C. Durkee, who interviewed the author for his article 'Zen and the art of the Wagnerian opera' : 'in 2001, ordained Buddhist monk Paul Schofield asked permission to leave his monastery in Mt. Shasta so he could work on a book about the operas of Richard Wagner. Durkee apparently said: 'I came out to explain to the modern world what Buddhism and Wagner really mean.' [The Editor of this Newsletter tends to bristle when anyone claims to tell anyone else what something 'really' means - it's usually a prelude to a strongly ideological misunderstanding.]

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