Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

The Sorcerer of Bayreuth

  1. Barry Millington
  • ISBN 9780500516430
  • 24.00 x 16.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 320pp
  • 285 Illustrations, 165 in colour
  • First published 2012

An in-depth and utterly approachable account of Wagner’s life, work and times

‘An excellent book … lavishly illustrated, with photographs and portraits of the leading participants in Wagner’s astounding life … this book should be on every budding Wagnerian’s shelves’– Opera Now
‘The Wagner book of the bicentenary … sumptuous … If you only read one book about Wagner, make it this one … Puts the great man into context and perspective, and this is a wonderfully readable book about a musical genius. Simply fantastic’ – Books Monthly
‘… a balanced and beautifully illustrated compendium of life and works, written in Millington’s easy-to-read style’Best Books of 2012, The Financial Times
‘… exemplary lucidity whether outlining an opera plot or musical structure, unravelling a complex philosophical argument or adjudicating a contentious socio-political issue’ – Opera
‘... the most readable of books, engagingly presented and beautifully produced – with striking illustrations on good paper that make it a pleasure to turn the pages’ – Ham & High

Richard Wagner is one of the most influential – and controversial – composers in the history of music. Over the course of his long career, he produced a stream of spellbinding works that challenged musical convention through their richness and experimentation, ultimately paving the way for modernism.

Richar Wagner: Sorcerer of Bayreuth

Moving at a fast pace, the book encompasses a refreshingly wide range of themes, from the composer’s sources of inspiration, his fetish for exotic silks, and his relationship with his wives and mistresses, to accusations of anti-Semitism, the operas’ proto-cinematic nature, and the turbulent legacy both of the Bayreuth Festival and of Wagnerism itself.

Making use of the very latest scholarship – much of it undertaken by the author himself as editor of The Wagner Journal – Barry Millington reassesses received notions about Wagner and his work, demolishing ill-informed opinion in favour of proper critical understanding. The result is a radical – and occasionally provocative – reappraisal of this most perplexing of composers. With its many intriguing images and quotations from contemporary documents, Richard Wagner: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth will grip anyone interested in music and in the wider cultural life of the 19th century and beyond.

See the complete list of contents

Barry Millington is chief music critic for the London Evening Standard and the editor of The Wagner Journal. He has written and edited, or co-edited, seven books on Wagner, including The Wagner Compendium, Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion, and the New Grove Guide to Wagner and his Operas. In addition to his writing, he has also acted as dramaturgical adviser at the Bayreuth Festival and elsewhere.


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Also of interest
Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung: A Companion
Verdi and/or Wagner: Two Men, Two Worlds, Two Centuries
Mahler: His Life, Work and World