GLOBAL WAGNER

Throughout 97 minutes that feature mostly talk – some of it interesting, some apologetically awkward – the documentary Global Wagner features appearances by Katharina Wagner, great-granddaughter of the composer, conductor Christian Thieleman, stage director Barrie Kosky, music critic Alex Ross, and several other lesser-known people, ranging from a couple that owns a deli in the town of Bayreuth to Israeli, Japanese, and Arab amateur and professional musicians. Musical and photo-op cameos by tenor Piotr Beczala, Placido Domingo, Valery Gergiev, and others whom I failed to recognize, paraded one after another, most exalting the glories of Wagnerian music.

Other than the insightful commentary by critic Alex Ross, and some beautiful cinematography, Global Wagner did little to dispel my profound dislike of Wagner, the man. As for the music of Wagner I have always been an admirer of his orchestral passages, and one of those fans who are not fond of Wagnerian vocal music and Wagnerian singing. And beyond all that, the idiocy of most of the stagings of Wagner’s operas I have sat through remains for me little other than a punchline.

For others who, unlike me, worship at the Wagnerian shrine this Naxos documentary might just be their cup of schnapps.

Rafael de Acha (c) 2022

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