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Duration: 1 hour

Stephen Fry explores his passion for controversial composer Richard Wagner. Can he salvage the music he loves from its dark association with Hitler's Nazi regime? His journey takes him to Germany, Switzerland and Russia as he pieces together the story of the composer's turbulent career.

Along the way he plays Wagner's piano, meets the composer's descendants and eavesdrops on rehearsals for the legendary Bayreuth Festival, the annual extravaganza of Wagner's music held in a theatre designed by the composer himself.

Last on

Thu 5 Aug 2010 22:20 BBC Four

  • Stephen Fry contemplates Wagner's troubled legacy

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    Stephen Fry discusses how political history has unavoidably stained the reputation of Wagner, a hero to the Nazi regime whose music nonetheless remains a towering achievement.

  • Photo: Stephen Fry and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

    Photo: Stephen Fry and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch

    Stephen Fry meets Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a renowned cellist and survivor of Auschwitz, at her home in London.

  • Photo: Villa Wesendonck

    Photo: Villa Wesendonck

    Stephen gets up close to a rehearsal at the grand Villa Wesendonck in Zurich.

  • Photo: Bayreuth

    Photo: Bayreuth

    Stephen watches an orchestra rehearsal at Bayreuth in Bavaria, Germany, home of an annual festival honouring Wagner's music.

  • Opera on the BBC

    Opera on the BBC

    This programme is part of a major new collection of programmes across the BBC celebrating opera through the eyes of the world's leading singers, conductors, directors and opera enthusiasts.

    Go to the Opera on the BBC website
  • BBC TV blog

    BBC TV blog

    Patrick McGrady, the director of Stephen Fry on Wagner, discusses his experiences of making the programme.

    BBC TV Blog: My journey with Stephen Fry and Wagner


Stephen Fry
Patrick McGrady


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