Richard Wagner: Transformations and Transfigurations
The much loved actors Juliet Stevenson and Michael Pennington present a selection of prose and poetry combined with music, evoking the spirit and art of Richard Wagner.
As part of BBC Radio 3's bicentennial celebrations of the birth of Richard Wagner, this edition of Words and Music does homage to one of the most outstanding of all Romantic composers - the man, it is claimed, who stands alongside Jesus Christ and Napoleon Bonaparte as having inspired more printed words than anyone else.
Transformations and transfigurations; music , memory and myth emerge through the poetry and prose of the "Nibelungenlied"; the works of Paul Verlaine, Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarmé, and Gabriele D'Annunzio; the programme finds the "Wagnerian" in the writings of TS Eliot, DH Lawrence and Oscar Wilde; and gathers homages, portraits and reposts to the "Master" in the words of those who knew him, including Wagner's "Parsifal muse", Judith Gautier; the philosopher Freiderich Nietzsche; and Wagner's wife, Cosima. Each verbal leitmotif is sheathed in the Wagnerian glories that are Tristan, Parsifal, Lohengrin, The Mastersingers and The Ring.