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The top five problems you have with Richard Wagner and how to solve them!

October 25th, 2010 by Ralf Kircher

Richard Wagner – either you love him or you hate him, he doesn’t allow any indifference, does he?

By the way, did you know, that there were more than ten thousands of books written about Wagner already before his death in 1883? So, tell me: what are some thousands, or be it even a million hits on some goofy YouTube video, where you can watch a half naked chick embarrassing herself publicly, compared to that? Peanuts! Ten thousand books at a time, when printing and publishing was virtually a big deal! It meant a hell of work and it was damned expensive, too. Wagner was an intrinsic superstar, no doubt about that – compare him to Michael Jackson: both ingenious musicians for sure, who changed the pace of music history, nevertheless, both highly controversial…

Maybe you have got problems with Jackson as well, anyway, there is nothing I could do about that – concerning Wagner on the other hand: I’m your man!

And… off we go!

1. He’s just too much of anything!

“It’s all so darned pathetic, so awfully German…”

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Oh my god, that was the wrong one… Sorry!

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 Yeah, much better already!

What, you never went to see one of his operas? They say, it’s a hell of a noise and, first of all, it’s far too long? That you have to sit there in an uncomfortable chair for hours and hours and mustn’t move or – heaven forbid! – clear your throat? Nonsense! And even if they were right: you get to the very experience that Einstein needed to travel for at the speed of light – time seems to stand still forever…!

“whatever you think - ǝʇısoddo ǝɥʇ ʞuıɥʇ”

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Since there is abundance, obviously, why not embracing it? (No one expects you to march into Poland) Are you always that modest? Or finicky? I am not! Not at all! Richard! I need you, I need more of you!!

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2. The plots of his operas are so weird

Come on, it’s all so crystal clear: Wotan, the chief of the northern gods, instructs the two giants Fasolt and Fafner to built a huge castle – Valhalla. They ask for Freia, Wotan’s wife’s sister, to be their reward. Since Loge, one of the gods, promises Wotan to get him (and Freia) out of that deal later, Wotan accepts the giants’ request – which naturally makes Fricka, Wotan’s wife, furious. At some point, the giants propose to exchange Freia to the Rhine gold, which Alberich, the head of the dark tribes living in caves deep down under the surface (aka the Nibelungs), had just stolen from the Rhinemaidens. Mime, Alberich’s brother, a blacksmith, forges a golden ring, which – since Alberich, having got trapped by Wotan and Loge, loads a curse on it – is going to cause all the troubles: the giant Fafner murders his brother Fasolt, then turns himself into a dragon guarding the gold treasure and the ring. Later on Siegfried, who is the son of the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, which are the illegitimate children of Wotan, who needs to find someone to fight against Alberich, who on his turn tries to get hold of the ring, which later on will become Siegfried’s wedding present for Brunnhilde, who formerly was a Valkyrie – which are the daughters of Wotan, who actually had to abandon Brunnhilde, which will be left by her spouse as well, because he is is poisoned by a love potion, which Gunther, the half brother of Hagen, the son of Alberich, who – although having cursed love forever, what Wotan was warned about by Erda, the primordial mother, who in fact had had a short affair with Wotan as well, thus giving birth to Brunnhilde (who is the only one of the Valkyries whose mother is not Fricka)…. OMG, where am I now? Hello! Can anyone show me the exit? Helloo!!

Gimme a break! What kind of stuff was that? Let’s just start all over again:

Big Boss wants to show to off and in order to get his big business set he needs to agree to some rather delicate deals (amongst others, appointing his wife’s sister as a reward…). As soon the ball is set rolling, it’s getting more and more complicated to keep control over the establishment.

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Finally, Big Boss decides to better get his arse out of the mess, however, that’s not an easy task – the one who made the treaties (he himself) is naturally the one who has to play by their rules. So he engages other people to get the dirty job of breaching the contracts done – abandoning them as soon they are hired, he has them fight against his antagonists “on their own behalf”.

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Of course, that does not work out at all: as long Big Boss remains involved by whatever means (even by creating misery for his subordinates), there will be no way out of the vicious circle!

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He is about to give up and withdraws all his guys – when suddenly the unforeseen happens: Big Bosses favourite daughter resists her father’s mind, thus supporting one of the guys continue his primary mission. How dare she?

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Big Boss is furious – just to understand out of a sudden that his daughter’s stubbornness is the only possible solution! She stood up against him, consequently, she cannot be bound by any of her father’s treaties! Sadly, the father’s happiness is not meant to last: he has to punish her (unless he wants to fool himself just another time) by outcasting her for good and all.

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Needless to say, the girl completes the mission on her own, the father can rest in peace…

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So, if you are searching for the ultimate love scene in opera, here it is! The daughter defies her beloved father in order to serve his real intents, whereas the father is forced to outcast his beloved daughter – for the most ridiculous reason: she transformed exactly what he himself wanted most of all (but was not able to…). Now, you tell me, is the plot of the Ring cycle (that’s what have been told just now) really that weird or old-fashioned after all? Doesn’t it rather convey the most beautiful message of all: that of unconditional love – come what may!

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3. His lyrics are just ridiculous

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“Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-Roma-ma-ah! Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!”

versus

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“Weia! Waga! Woge, du Welle, walle zur Wiege! Wagala weia! Walala, weiala weia!” Which one sounds more “ridiculous”? Playing around with sounds, letters, syllables or words has been the name of the game for many years already – from pop to rap, from disco to hip-hop. Why then blaming the great ancestor for alleged infantility? Apart from that, one reason, why people underestimate Wagner’s poetic abilities, may be his vast use of alliterations – which, admittedly, sound a little bit strange to our ears nowadays. We were wondering, was it worth while worrying whether we wanted weird Walter withdraw… and so on. Now it’s your turn! Leave your alliteration as a comment at the bottom – and the best one will be rewarded with two tickets for my next Wagner-concert!

4. His heroines do not really turn me on!

Well, well, what shall we say about that? Let’s check them out…

You know what they say? Beauty lies within the eyes of the observer. Pace you, my dear reader – what I see is this:

5. Wagner was cheating on all of his friends and supporters – Jeez, this man was a true monster!

The is no argue about it, Wagner had his personal style of expressing gratitude to his supporters: not only once he ended up having an affair with his benefactor’s wife!

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Though, who knows, maybe there are husbands around, who feel proud about having their wives being the muse of a true genius man? He, who out outperforms the whole world, deserves to attain whatever might please him – and it is: my wife which he choses before all the others! What an honour! I am the husband of a woman, who obviously has the capacity to delight such a titanic figure! What? What the hell…? She wants a divorce? Sacrifice her life to HIM? How dare you…? Aaah, right, I see… I am entitled to be his first follower? Hmmm… what an honour! Yes, sure, Maestro, I am at you disposal! Whatever you need…! Me? Me conducting the world premiers of Tristan und Isolde? And Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg? (Damn it – I’d rather forget that bitch than missing any of these chances to get my share of eternal fame!)

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22 Responses to “The top five problems you have with Richard Wagner and how to solve them!”

  1. Hello, Nice post. I wish everybody would spend this kind of attention to their post while you perform. We arrived acros your blog on google when looking for the area. We is in order to your blog. I am sorry for my bad englisch, i’m from the netherlands. Best regards in the holland!

  2. Ralf Kircher says:

    Absolutely! That is the fantastic thing about www: myriads of possibilities to express, interact, share, watch, listen to others etc. I love it!

  3. I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

    • Ralf Kircher says:

      Actually, blogging is quite time&effort-consuming, however, once you got yourself into it, its great fun! I even do some other (less serious) blogs, which I find to be invaluable exercises for this here… For the same reason btw I hang around a lot on Facebook as well (beside the fact that I really enjoy meeting all my friends there)!

  4. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  5. Hi could I use some of the understanding found in this blog if i provide a link back to your site?

    • Ralf Kircher says:

      That would be the best, actually! You see, I am trying to present an utterly non-elitist approach to classical music – I can be fascinated by both Lady Gaga AND Richard Wagner, for both of them are (resp. were) setting up great shows. Surely we can be proud of the invaluable inheritage which was left to us by the great masters of the past, however, that doesn’t mean that we are not allowed to touch it – in other words: to play around with it, to extract from it what’s relevant for our time and our way of adapting. One cannot destroy anything, because everything is there anyway: on paper, on records, on hard drives, in our minds – treating our classicists as sacrosanct does far more harm to them, I believe!
      My ultimate goal referring to this blog is to gather a community of intensively discussing and commenting people (whether they consider themselves to be “musical” or not or to “know” anything about classical music or not is completely irrelevant). By the means of our interaction we naturally generate the frame for a concert program (for each of my posts, obviously), and these concerts, created online commonly, are to be taken to the real world by being performed live here and there…

  6. Nicki Smith says:

    Wagner is a complete joke. He can’t sing and he struggles to even speak english. He needs to go, and he needs to go soon!

  7. Chad Vetrano says:

    Love your site man keep up the good work

  8. This is SOO fascinating!Lady GaGa was performing The Monster Ball last night in Antwerp, Belgium, and decided to handle her little Monsters by revealing a few more lines from her upcoming single, Born This Way!

  9. bet365 says:

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  10. Léla says:

    …..muss jetzt dringend nachschauen, wann die nächste Wagner-Oper besuchbar ist, gleich nachdem ich die Tannhäuser-CD aufgedreht hab… :-)

  11. Richard Wagner says:

    Mensch, endlich mal einer, der mich versteht!

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