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Wagner without Fear: Learning to Love--and Even Enjoy--Opera's Most Demanding Genius

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2001

    Convert an opera-hater! Give them 'Wagner Without Fear'

    Breezy, friendly and non-threatening introduction to Wagner that strikes absolutely the perfect balance between affectionately mocking humor and pure reverence. The author so clearly adores the operas he's talking about that his love is infectious. Those who think the book is 'dumbed-down' are missing the point: an opera neophyte approaches the subject of Wagner armed only with a knowledge of 'What's Opera, Doc?' and an image of a fat, blonde-braided lady in a horned helmet shattering glass with the force of her high notes. These illusions are dispelled gently, without scorn, and the reality is opened up like a hidden treasure. That an opera fan can step out of himself to view the world with newby eyes with such humor and good grace is a wonderful treat. This is not just an introduction to Wagner, but a gentle invitation to the world of Opera in general, a hand stretched in friendship across an immeasurable gap that has, as yet, no bridge for the uninitiated to traverse. And with a good number of laugh-out-loud moments to boot. Sheer delight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2000

    Should have been titled 'Wagner without Arrogance'

    I have been studying these works for 25 years. I am a classicly trained pianist. I've read the Newman, played the piano scores, listened and attended countless times. No, I can't recite the cast of every obscure Bayreuth recording that snobs love to talk about. I'm not going to start about that. Face it, this is the most accessible book about Wagner ever written. Sure, one can take offense with the cute statements that might offend...but could you be big enough to realize that this art can appeal to many people? Can you share it? I gave this book to a friend of mine who was not terribly familiar with the operas. Now she is desparate for Ring tix at the Met. Her husband and my wife also. Ask yourself this...who will pay for these productions if we don't discard our arrogance and try to get others to listen? This, is what Mr. Berger is trying to do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

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