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This is a very impressive book which is essentially a history of approaches to theatrical production of Wagner's operas from their premieres until the early 1980's. It is immensely thorough in focusing on the most interesting or significant approaches rather than an encyclopaedic 'history'. These qualities in themselves make it a very impressive read. However, it also leads one to realise just how influential Wagner's works were on the development of stage practice as a whole, not just the operatic drama, as Appia, Gordon Craig and Meyerhold, amongst others, responded very powerfully to the challenges the Ring and other works lay down. Their influence, of course, on 20th century theatre was very important. This would be of interest, therefore, to someone not solely motivated by Wagnerphilia.

Carnegy gives a critical, not purely narrative, account and engages strongly with the ideas various production approaches highlighted, including Syberberg's monumental films on German culture and his version of 'Parsifal'. He also raises central issues regarding Wagner's cultural significance. I only regret that the book ends with production from 1982, though he does refer favourably, if briefly, to aspects of Richard Jones Covent Garden productions from the next decade.
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on 16 January 2014
Fascinating material, well-documented and well-illustrated, full of insights for theatre-buffs in general as well as Wagnerites and old style opera-lovers
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on 19 May 2007
Completely fascinating, compelling, compassionate, factual, thorough, unputdownable. A masterpiece.

The breadth of subjects covered is staggering - political & social history, music, theatre, design ­ and people. It¹s a privilege to "meet" so many of them as we make a life-changing journey through the book. It¹s easy to read, but the language is a joy, as are the copious numbers of illustrations.

Completely fascinating, compelling, compassionate, factual, thorough, unputdownable. A masterpiece.
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on 2 August 2016
A fascinating and thoughtful history of Wagnerian interpretation.
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on 10 May 2013
Just what was rrquired for as a present for a devoted Wagner fan. It could not have been more appropriate.
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