Richard Wagner (1813-1883)



Examining the dark sides of Wagner, Donald Macleod explores the composer's self-obsession.

Wagner believed he was an extraordinary artist set apart from other men and, in the character of Lohengrin, the idea of a hero separated from ordinary mortals is followed to its logical conclusion.

Wagner's perspective is revealed in his own words, against the backdrop of music from the opera.

Donald Macleod examines the dark sides of Wagner, focusing on his self-obsession.

01Musical Colossus20070226

Wagner extended his art into politics and philosophy, morality and psychology, but today Donald Macleod focuses on his purely musical achievements.

Featuring excerpts from Die Walkure, Der Fliegende Hollander, Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde.


Donald Macleod continues his examination of the dark sides of Wagner's personality, revealing his many affairs with the wives of his friends and patrons and revealing how Wagner himself viewed these relationships, through the composer's own writing, interwoven with music from the passionate but illicit love story of Tristan and Isolde.

Donald Macleod examines the dark sides of Wagner's personality, focusing on his affairs.

02In Search Of The Ideal Woman20070227

Wagner's vision of true love was immortalised in many of his operas, but his own journey towards the perfect marriage was long and difficult. Featuring excerpts from Tannhauser, Der Fliegende Hollander and Tristan und Isolde.

03A Plaster Saint20070228

Wagner's magnetic personality attracted many champions for his music, but his supporters often found themselves used and betrayed.

Featuring excerpts from Gotterdammerung, Lohengrin and Parsifal.

03 LAST20091230

Donald Macleod concludes his examination of the dark sides of Wagner, and explores his shocking views about race, looking at what the composer himself wrote about this subject, including the essay Judaism in Music. Many commentators have argued that his racism is also revealed in his operas, especially The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. Donald examines the issues alongside music from the opera.

Die Meistersinger von Nurnburg

Hans Sachs, Cobbler....Bernd Weikl (baritone)

Veit Pogner, Goldsmith....Kurt Moll (bass)

Kunz Vogelgesang, Furrier....Michael Schade (tenor)

Konrad Nachtigall, Tinsmith....Hans Wilbrink (baritone)

Sixtus Beckmesser, Town Clerk....Siegfried Lorenz (baritone)

Fritz Kothner, Baker....Hans-Joachim Ketelsen (baritone)

Balthasar Zorn, Pewterer....Ulrich Ress (tenor)

Ulrich Eisslinger, Grocer....Hermann Sapell (baritone)

Augustin Moser, Tailor....Roland Wagenfuhrer (tenor)

Hermann Ortel, Soap Boiler....Rainer Buese (bass)

Hans Schwarz, Stocking Weaver....Guido Gotzen (bass)

Hans Foltz, Coppersmith....Friedemann Kunder (bass)

Walther von Stolzing, Knight....Ben Heppner (tenor)

David, Sach's Apprentice....Deon van der Walt (tenor)

Eva, Pogner's Daughter....Cheryl Studer (soprano)

Magdalene, Eva's Nurse....Cornelia Kallisch (mezzo-soprano)

Night Watchman....Rene Pape (bass)

Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper

Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)

EMI 7243 5 55142 2 6, CD 1 Trs 1-2; CD 2 Trs 1-4; CD 4 Trs 8-13.

Donald Macleod examines Wagner's shocking views about race.

04Forging The Ring20070301

Donald Macleod follows Wagner's 25-year struggle with the creation of his epic Ring Cycle, and the dramatic changes in his philosophical outlook that transformed his view of the story.

Featuring excerpts from Gotterdammerung, Tannhauser, Parsifal and Das Rheingold.

05 LASTComic Turns20070302

Donald Macleod searches, not always successfully, for a bit of humour in Wagner's music. Featuring excerpts from Das Liebesverbot, Das Rheingold and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.