Richard Wagner (1813–1883) is among the most famous mainstays of the operatic repertoire, along with Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini, and he will remain so for as long as opera lasts. One hesitates to say that his works are as popular as those of the other three eminences. Performances of his supreme masterpieces Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Parsifal are comparatively uncommon, for they demand the largest and surest orchestras, the highest production values, and nothing less than the world’s finest singers, specifically of the rare heavy-lifting breed known as dramatic voices, …
This article appears as “Master of Masters” in the February 8, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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