Bayreuth by Frederic Spotts
A History of the Wagner Festival

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The operatic festival Richard Wagner founded at Bayreuth in 1876 is the oldest, most famous and most influential in the world. Its productions and musical standards have been a model for opera houses everywhere, and Bayreuth has become a place of pilgrimage for music lovers, and the ultimate objective for singers and conductors. The story of the festival is however not just about an opera house but about a family, a society and an art form. The creation of a fervent German chauvinist, Bayreuth came to epitomize the tortured development of the German nation after unification in 1871. The festival became a citadel of racism and reaction, and the cultural showpiece of the Third Reich and Hitler's artistic centre. Here for the first time is a full-scale, serious, narrative account of the festival, based on wide-ranging research and interviews, which explains the political, managerial, social and artistic context of the Festival. It provides candid, sharply-etched portraits of the members of the Wagner family, their friends, enemies and critics, and of the controversy that has characterised it for over a century.

About Frederic Spotts

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Frederic Spotts has written four other books on European political and cultural affairs. His study of Bayreuth is acknowledged as the standard work on the subject. Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics was written while Spotts was a visiting scholar at the Institute for International Affairs at Berkeley.
Published May 25, 1994 by Yale University Press. 344 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Unsurprisingly, given his own craziness, Wagner spawned a sizeable population of difficult characters and a few genuinely talented artists, in particular his grandson Wolfgang, a superb director who dragged Bayreuth into a new age of theatrical innovation after it had been tarred by the racist br...

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Publishers Weekly

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Stressing that ``Bayreuth demands seriousness'' of attendees--the author himself has attended every year since 1955--Spotts, who had the cooperation of the Richard Wagner-Gedenkstatte at Bayreuth, here presents a study of due seriousness, a knowing, engrossing, opinionated overview of the shrine ...

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