I’ve just come off a WNYC Smackdown head-to-head with Anne Midgette on the never-ending question of my Wagner right or wrong. You can hear the debate here, I think, and I’m not going to use this space to have the last word on her.
What is extraordinary, though, is how every time one attempts to balance the monstrosity of Wagner’s ego and his cult against the musical genius of the work, you run up against a brick wall – not Anne, I hastily add – of people who pretend that it is possible to isolate a creator from the things he creates.
It isn’t. No Wagner, no Ring – as Bob Marley might have put it. The man’s odious ideology is part and parcel of the work. Eliminate it, and the Ring becomes a teddy bears’ tea party.