Alex Ross with Ann Powers
As US cities go, Seattle has probably seen more productions of Richard Wagner operas than any other, thanks to Seattle Opera’s decades of productions of the The Ring Cycle, along with other productions along the way. New Yorker music critic and author (The Rest is Noise) Alex Ross virtually visits with his new book, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), to be joined in conversation by NPR music critic and author Ann Powers.
“Wagnerism is as magnificently realized as it is monumentally ambitious, a cultural history of the modern world that Richard Wagner and his protean art helped mightily to create, and equally a brilliantly synthetic mapping-out of the infinitely multiplying, antagonistic and cross-pollinating readings and misreadings, transformations and transmogrifications that the world has wrought in its unceasing, ongoing grapplings with Wagner. Alex Ross has assembled a vast convocation of the artists, proponents and prophets of realism and hallucination, psychology and mythification, avant-gardism and populism, democracy and fascism, cosmopolitanism and racism, and collectively they offer us an epic account of the progress of modernity through mazes of aesthetics, ideology and consciousness. It’s a journey for which Ross is the ideal guide: lucid, astoundingly erudite, scrupulous, generous, profound, objective and engaged, and enormously entertaining.” —Tony Kushner.
Presented by Town Hall Arts & Culture in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.