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Comment: Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication: 1981
Binding: soft cover
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Description: 163 pages. Light sun fading to cover of a clean paperback with a clear plastic adhesive protector on cover (Richard Wagner: Parsifal - Cambridge Opera Handbooks)
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Richard Wagner: Parsifal (Cambridge Opera Handbooks) Paperback – 20 Aug 1981


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (20 Aug. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521296625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521296625
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'The wealth of analytic insight, into both text and music, belies the book's modest length, and it must surely be recognized as the best English study of Parsifal now available.' Music & Letters

Book Description

In this book Lucy Beckett gives a comprehensive account of Wagner's last and strangest opera. The literary sources of this work, its many links with Wagner's life and thought, its libretto, music and stage history, are all thoroughly examined. There is a full commentary, with extensive quotation, on the work's critical history, and finally, a fresh assessment of its place in the Wagner canon and of its unique quality as a music drama that is both modern and Christian.

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The quest [for sources] tends to operate in one direction only - away from the masterpiece. . . Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. A. Crowther on 8 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lucy Beckett has written a splendid and thorough book on the last operatic work of Wagner, which is also arguably his strangest. It is a work that has fascinated and baffled many critics over the years, including some of the most perceptive admirers of Wagner's music. Most recent writers (Dahlhaus, Tanner, Magee and others) have interpreted the work as mythic and Schopenhaurean, but not fundamentally Christian in its meaning, even though the story it takes is clearly Christian. Beckett returns to an earlier view, closely argued, that the meaning is profoundly Christian. She quotes in this respect Wagner himself, and also Nietzsche, who thought thus, but famously with disapproval, as incidentally Beecham did as well.

The book contains much scholarly detail on the historic sources used by Wagner, and continues with a detailed but very readable account of the text and characterisation. There is an admirable chapter of analysis of the music contributed by Arnold Whitall, the history of its staging, and an account of the various critical reactions to the work; finally her own masterful interpretation.

It is a slim volume, but written in a way that is simultaneously dense in substance, yet also highly readable, so that the contents appear to exceed the book's size - a bit like Wagner's Parsifal itself, perhaps?
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sysad65 on 27 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the German classic catch it any time you can RW understands opera, that Teutonic brain was gifted. A possible example of what a northern climate will make you into.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly review of Parsifal 3 July 2000
By David Gottner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book so far as it goes. It's a bit dry, but if you are sufficiently interested in the material than you should be able to get through it OK.
The book is divided into sections about Wagner's source material, a history of Parsifal performances, a musical commentary, a discussion of the critical reactions to Parsifal from Wagner's time to the present, and a proposed interpretation. In the "interpretation" section, the author argues that Parsifal must be interpreted as a religious work.
I was disappoined with the book, because I was expecting a more detailed interpretation (for example, what actually happens in Act II of Parsifal?)
The book is interesting, but was not quite what I was looking for. However, the chapter on Wagner's source material is a necessary prerequisite on forming your own opinion of this work, so those of you still grappling with this opera should consider purchasing this book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very informative and well-organized 20 May 2014
By Third Norn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No one will every quite understand Parsifal completely, and I think Wagner liked it that way; however, this thoughtful book makes it a bit less runic.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Down to the point 18 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have found the book highly fascinating. It not only gives you a fair deal on the story itself - additionally it provides a huge amount on background information to Wagner, the history of the play, the story behind the story...
Particularly the parts about the origination of the theme of Parsifal is well researched and worth reading.
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