Bryan Magee. 1978. Aspects of Wagner London: Granada Publishing. 109 pp.

Five very short essays on Wagner - short, original and rich in ideas. Wagners theory of opera (revival of Greek theatre). That (despite his rampant anti-Semetism), Wagner saw, at least partly, that the huge contribution of Jews to music can be attributed to the opening of the ghettoes. The huge reach of Wagner’s influence on poets, philosophers, novelists, composers. In performance Wagner conducted his own works in shorter time than almost any contemporary conductors. He also eliminated applause from during Acts, kept the theatre in darkness.

First read this in about December 1979, I think in Munich or on the way, and soon to visit Bayreuth. Unfortunately made no notes on my thoughts then, but I remember being impressed and no less interesting 40 years later. Haven’t heard a performance in that theatre and no doubt won’t. In the year of covid, 2020, there will be no Bayreuth Festival.