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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and comprehensive assessment of Wagner's last masterpiece, 8 May 2013
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P. A. Crowther (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Richard Wagner: Parsifal (Cambridge Opera Handbooks) (Paperback)
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 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As fab as the Opera, 27 July 2013
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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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Richard Wagner: Parsifal (Cambridge Opera Handbooks)
Richard Wagner: Parsifal (Cambridge Opera Handbooks) by Lucy Beckett (Paperback - 20 Aug 1981)
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