17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating and in-depth analysis of a true artistic genius, 1 May 2002
This book was given to me by a friend which surprised me a little given that I have never really been into opera. However philosophy is a keen interest of mine and this book is one of those rarities that successfully manages to intertwine elements from philosophy with another subject - in this case the operatic artistry of Richard Wagner. Magee obviously knows and passionately loves his Wagnerian operas, and uses his other passion, philosophy, as a means of accessing Wagner, the radical youth, the mature cynic, at all times the philosopher, and an intellectual artist of incomparable standing. Although some parts of the book repeat themes touched on earlier, just like a musical piece itself each iteration builds on the previous dicussion leading to a greater intensity in the overall understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Magee dissected his subject to focus on different aspects of Wagner's life and influences of the times. The end result is an uncompromising view of a man flawed in many ways, but blessed as a staggering genius musically. This is a book that you will never forget for its critical analysis and clever writing.