Richard Wagner is a composer who has evoked strong reactions of adoration and aversion from music lovers for generations. Simon Callow has written a fast-paced, clearly-written life of the composer, giving us a crisp narrative not only about the music but into the many passions and quirks driving this irascible and unstoppable genius.
One needn't be an opera fan or a Wagner fan to enjoy and learn from Being Wagner! There is an excellent balance of vivid historic and social context, humor, and musical observation in this engaging and insightful book. I came away from reading Being Wagner with fresh appreciation for Wagner's achievements as well as a better understanding of his difficult, complex personality.
Callow is a multi-faceted talent: actor, director, author and astute social observer. He brings a keen and insightful sense of culture, theater, theater, and political activism to the life and work of Wagner.