Musical genius, political hero and racist demon, the life of Richard Wagner reads like the ultimate Boys-own story. The Ring cycle is regarded as one of the finest achievements of the human soul. This documentary examines the connections between Wagner’s own spiritual vision and his art, including coded anti-Semitic references in his music and the techniques he used to mesmerize his audience. It is filmed in Switzerland, Italy and King Ludwig’s Bavaria. Musicians include the world’s greatest and most controversial performers: Daniel Barenboim, Roger Norrington, Siegfried Jerusalem, Deborah Polaski, Graham Clarke, Falk Struckmann with contributions from Wagner experts John Deathridge and Barry Millington as well as Stephen Hawking, George Steiner and Edward Said. Excerpts include The Ring, Rienzi, The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal.
Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
Prague Symphony OrchestraConducted by: Roger Norrington
Berlin State Opera OrchestraConducted by: Daniel Barenboim
Contributors include:Stephen Hawking • Sir Georg Solti • Daniel Barenboim • Roger Norrington • Deborah Polaski
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