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Tell me what it takes to tolerate Wagnerian opera, please.

I love opera - from Monteverdi through Purcell and Handel and the baroque to Mozart and the classical, into Gluck and then through the German, French and Italian traditions. I love the Romantics. I'm catholic in my tastes and enjoy the range of styles. And I like the later comers, through Britten and into the contemporary scene. I go, see, listen, and support. But I cannot "get" Wagner - especially later Wagner. I've seen most of his works (almost all filmed, not live) and it mostly seems overwrought, overly portentous with unconvincing plotting, falsely mythic, and dull. Even when the universe is exploding, it feels like a big ball of bullshit. God, those dreary scorings and the pacing and spirit of an army of slugs heading slowly into the sea. Not everything, of course - individual motifs and the occasional aria, duo or combination are stirring. But it's rare, and a tiny part of the whole dull affair. As a composer he is so fucking ungenerous and full of himself. Blah blah blah ad infinitum. I read Shaw's essays and wonder what the hell he was hearing. SO what do I need to do to experience what others do? How do I care? I thought it would take me getting older, but I'm as mature now as I'm going to be, and if anything I'm less patient. I can sit through almost anything, but not the Ring. Or Parsifal. Or T&I. Etc.


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