Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre

Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre

Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre

Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre

Synopsis

In contrast to most books on Richard Wagner, this biography focuses primarily on Wagner as an important figure in the development of the theatre. While his contribution to music history has been exhaustively documented and analyzed, his theatrical ventures, in particular the founding of the Bayreuth Festival, have not been the object of much research by English-speaking theatre historians. Nevertheless, the Festival was a crucial event in the development of the European theatre as it established the paradigm for all modern theatre and music festivals, while the Festival Theatre itself has provided the most widely imitated architectural configuration in 20th-century theatre building.

Excerpt

This book stems from the Greenwood Press series Lives of the Theatre. To facilitate use in college and university courses, some volumes have been selected to appear in paperback. This is such a volume. Lives of the Theatre is designed to provide scholarly introductions to important periods and movements in the history of world theatre from the earliest instances of recorded performance through to the twentieth century, viewing the theatre consistently through the lives of representative theatrical practitioners. Although many of the volumes will be centered upon playwrights, other important theatre people, such as actors and directors, will also be prominent in the series. the subjects have been chosen not simply for their individual importance, but because their lives in the theatre can well serve to provide a major perspective on the theatrical trends of their eras. They are therefore either representative of their time, figures whom their contemporaries recognized as vital presences in the theatre, or they are people whose work had a fundamental influence on the development of theatre, not only in their lifetimes but after their deaths as well. While the discussion of verbal and written scripts will inevitably be a central concern in any volume that is about an artist who wrote for the theatre, these scripts will always be considered in their function as a basis for performance.

The rubric "Lives of the Theatre" is therefore intended to suggest biographies both of people who created theatre as an institution and as a medium of performance and of the life of the theatre itself. This dual focus will be illustrated through the titles of the individual volumes, such as . . .

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