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Interesting this emotive word 'hater' is now used quite freely to describe people from politicians to music lovers. Saying Wagner's libretti were not works of literary genius (which many people would agree they were not) does not make one a 'hater'. Just saying that his literary ability did not match his musical genius. Labelling people 'haters' tends to restrict debate.
No one here has argued they are works of "literary" genius. Boito's and Da Ponte's libretti aren't works of "literary" genius, either. They are all masterly and effective as texts for musical drama, however.
 

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No one here has argued they are works of "literary" genius. Boito's and Da Ponte's libretti aren't works of "literary" genius, either. They are all masterly and effective as texts for musical drama, however.
I think you were missing the irony in my comment. However, some have come pretty close to arguing that. Certainly RW would have done!
 

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I think most people outside of the Wagner faction think his libretti leave something to be desired.
1.There is no "Wagner faction."
2. No one who does not speak German is in a position to know what Wagner's libretti leave to be desired.
3. Anyone who offers an opinion about an opera libretto without reference to the way its text and music interact - specifically, to how the former supports and enables the latter - is just blowing hot gas.
 

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I think most people outside of the Wagner faction think his libretti leave something to be desired.
I think those outside of the Wagner faction couldn't care less.
 

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No one here has argued they are works of "literary" genius. Boito's and Da Ponte's libretti aren't works of "literary" genius, either. They are all masterly and effective as texts for musical drama, however.
I would argue that Wagner's libretti are works of literary genius, along with (some of) Boito's and Da Ponte's.

I would also argue that Illica and Giacosa wrote superb libretti.

By the way, are those here who denigrate any or all of these libretti actually speak the original languages? If you are only going by translations then I can understand why you may think them inferior on a literary level.

N.
 

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Wagner not only wrote his own librettos, but to a great extent he conceived words and music simultaneously. Who could possibly have collaborated on works of such vision and originality? Who could have found words to accommodate music of such technical complexity and expressive scope? Who but Wagner himself could have taken the rambling, sprawling romances of medieval literature and boiled them down into such terse, intense dramas? Given the diffuse raw material of old stories passed down in diverse forms, his works exhibit a remarkable clarity of purpose and unity of intention, and represent their composer in a personal way that few other operas do. Whatever his works say is what he meant to say.
Excellent reply. Bravo!
 

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This came out a mess! I HAVE TROUBLE seeing which is you and which is me!

Since someone woke this up and I've been eager to get back to Tristan, I want to question two of your points. I realize you all were in mid-debate but I also know that if you put it down you believe it, not just in this context, sooooo....

2. No one who does not speak German is in a position to know what Wagner's libretti leave to be desired.

Maybe in this example your statement is a little absolute? With a desire to appreciate Tristan as fully as I could, I've approached it earnestly and sincerely and come up dry and for MY EXPERIENCE, the major stumbling block was the libretto. I accept that the discussion of music/interaction is something potentially more profound in Wagner, but in terms of the story's need to bring me in - a conditon faced by all writers - why is Wagner in translation any different than Mozart, Verdi and Puccini in translation? Why is an opera lover not as justified in questioning a translated Wagner libretto, on at least one level, as they are in doing the same to verdi?

3. Anyone who offers an opinion about an opera libretto without reference to the way its text and music interact - specifically, to how the former supports and enables the latter - is just blowing hot gas.
This makes me think of something I was told about, at least one version of, cooking school....that the chef's food would not be assessed for taste until it passed the test of visual appeal. The taste (the interaction of music and word) may be what the shouting is all about...the gold....the raison d'etre! But until the visual appeal is accompished (the story's hook) it's unimportant because the audience has not been drawn in.
 

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This makes me think of something I was told about, at least one version of, cooking school....that the chef's food would not be assessed for taste until it passed the test of visual appeal. The taste (the interaction of music and word) may be what the shouting is all about...the gold....the raison d'etre! But until the visual appeal is accompished (the story's hook) it's unimportant because the audience has not been drawn in.
Do you know how to fix the mess above - how to do quotes? It looks as if Wooduck has forgotten to take his schizophrenia medication and is arguing with his invisible friend, who is ten feet tall and has three eyes, webbed feet and a prehensile tail (don't ask me how I know that).
 

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With a desire to appreciate Tristan as fully as I could, I've approached it earnestly and sincerely and come up dry and for MY EXPERIENCE, the major stumbling block was the libretto. I accept that the discussion of music/interaction is something potentially more profound in Wagner, but in terms of the story's need to bring me in - a conditon faced by all writers - why is Wagner in translation any different than Mozart, Verdi and Puccini in translation? Why is an opera lover not as justified in questioning a translated Wagner libretto, on at least one level, as they are in doing the same to verdi?
A friend to whom I gave the Tristan libretto to read before listening to the opera, said: "I'll believe this when I hear it."
 

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Do you know how to fix the mess above - how to do quotes? It looks as if Wooduck has forgotten to take his schizophrenia medication and is arguing with his invisible friend, who is ten feet tall and has three eyes, webbed feet and a prehensile tail (don't ask me how I know that).
.....:lol::lol::lol:...........Now I did acknowledge that!!!!!

Usually I get away with it but clearly.....not here!
 

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You made that up!!!
The problem Wagner had in Tristan was figuring out what T & I could talk about while they and the orchestra were pouring out a tsunami of passionate sound. In no other opera are the things to be expressed so fully the province of music and so inexpressible in words, once the situation has been explained by Isolde in Act 1 and once the passion-releasing potion has been drunk. As the most musical of all operas, Tristan was a one-off that had to play by its own rules.
 

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The problem Wagner had in Tristan was figuring out what T & I could talk about while they and the orchestra were pouring out a tsunami of passionate sound. In no other opera are the things to be expressed so fully the province of music and so inexpressible in words, once the situation has been explained by Isolde in Act 1 and once the passion-releasing potion has been drunk. As the most musical of all operas, Tristan was a one-off that had to play by its own rules.
So, between the greatest hits...Prelude, Love Duet, Liebestod....you clearly find plenty of music that supports this way of approaching this music drama? Not meant to be a debate question....a real question.
 

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I had a spell on Wagner but I have found other sorts of opera far more enjoyable to listen to. Handel operas for example. I was also put off Wagner by some of the people on TC who seemed to me to take him too seriously for my taste and appeared to think everyone should. For me opera is a hobby not to be taken too seriously. So Wagner on the back burner for the time being. Not suggesting this is true for everyone, of course, but you've asked people for their experience. If you're looking for something post-Wagner try the pure air of Handel.
"too seriously for my taste" What taste?
 

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To put it bluntly, I have had a gutfull of David A for many years. His last post explains the reason
It's very pleasant, isn't it, to be able to take the things we enjoy seriously without being told, apparently quite seriously, that we're fools for doing so?

H. L. Mencken described puritanism as ""the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Apparently there's a sect that's particularly outraged when someone, somewhere, enjoys talking about the works of Wagner.
 
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