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Listen Up: Wagner in Saxony—Revolution, ma non Troppo

New in Listen Magazine

Wagner the Revolutionary

Saxony at long last honors its prodigal, politically ambivalent son.

When Röckel laid out a radical socialist program for the future, there were two points Wagner found himself unable to agree with: the abolition of marriage and, tellingly, the equal treatment of all workers. Without a special status for artists, Wagner wasn’t going to sign off on such an idea.

Wagner escaped certain imprisonment and possible death in Dresden by a hair’s breadth, via Chemnitz and Weimar to Zurich. As soon as he was in the clear he sent a letter to his wife Minna in which he assures her that this “worst possible catastrophe” that he had just experienced was something from which he “emerged a changed man, set on a new path.” Furthermore Wagner claimed that he really wasn’t a revolutionary at heart because a victorious revolutionary has to be ruthless to the core — a quality he simply couldn’t possess...

Available in the current issue of Listen Magazine.