Tag Archives: Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner: The 200th birthday of a Shakespearian composer

Today, 22 May 2013, we celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the most iconic, controversial, and astonishingly original artists of all times: Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The eminent British musicologist Deryck Cooke declared that Wagner’s epic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is the most ambitious work of art ever produced […]

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Shakespeare and The Flying Dutchman

Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a strongly political play, a work embedded in the complexities of social reality, but its hero/villain Angelo, whose admiration for Isabella’s ascetic purity morphs into sexual desire and a rape-attempt, is in part intensely spiritual. This is not, however, a spirituality that is allowed to unfold fully. István Géher brings […]

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Wagner’s Shakespearian Birth

Richard Wagner’s engagement with his creative predecessor William Shakespeare began around age 13. At this time, Wagner pronounced Shakespeare’s name “Shicksper,” which triggered for him associations of fate (Shicksal = fate/destiny) and battle (Speer = spear). Wagner related this detail from the distant past to his second wife Cosima in 1874, who wrote it in […]

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Sexing Isabella and Angelo

There’s a wonderful chapter from Ewan Fernie in the recently released volume Shakespeare and I, about Angelo in Measure for Measure and the yearning to ‘sin in loving virtue,’ which Fernie feels is central to the play. But my incessant re-readings of the play – I’m researching it in relation to Wagner’s opera of it […]

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Shakespeare and Revolutionary Sex!

It might seem odd to think about Shakespeare in relation to Richard Wagner, but the nineteenth-century German dramatist read Shakespeare during his formative years, pointing to him as one of his three big influences (the other two being the Greek tragedians and Beethoven). He also made an opera of Measure for Measure, Das Liebesverbot (“The […]

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24 brilliant poems, inspired by Shakespeare's life and art, bound in an artisan stitched chapbook

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