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Richard Wagner: New Light on a Musical Life Paperback – 30 Dec 2013


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About the Author

<strong>John Louis DiGaetani</strong> is the author of numerous books about opera and theatre, including several about Richard Wagner. An English professor at Hofstra University, he lives in New York, USA.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8c44f3a8) out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x929295f4) out of 5 stars Not at all recommended 24 Jan. 2014
By Col William Russell (ret) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
DiGaetani is the author or editor of several books on Wagner's music so I expected this one to join their ranks. Sadly, it does not. The title says " new light on a musical life". It sheds nothing new aside from the very real fact that Wagner was not a Nazi and short-sighted attempts to join Wagner and Hitler have validity aside from their places as a composer and fan, respectively. This is nothing new and a point that anyone with any intelligence has seen despite any personal prejudices and agendas.

This book gives the impression of being a series of rough drafts just thrown together to meet a deadline without re -reading or editing. The first five chapters are filled with endless repetitions of Wagner feeling abandoned or unwanted by his mother, his having no fixed home, his being raised in the Jewish section of Leipzig, the animosity between Germany and France, and His psychological evaluation of Wagner. Why would a professor of English feel qualified to psychoanalyze Wagner? Had he cited experts, perhaps, but he has no footnotes so there's no indication where his ideas originate. He claims Gozzi's "plays had a profound effect on Mozart's Magic Flute." Had Mozart written the libretto that may be possible but he was setting an already written libretto. His chapters on the various opera are superficial at best. On page 46, he captions the illustration of Minna Wagner as "a photograph made by August Weger, ca. 1892" which would be hard since Minna died in 1866. She must've been a lively corpse! Similar errors abound.

A very superficial book that has nothing to say and is a disappointment from one who has contributed richly to material on Wagner's magnificent operas. Avoid this book and choose another if you want a short biography.
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