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Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde


Few operas have sparked as much controversy, in as many places, as Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. History shows that during the latter half of the 19th century spirited discussion and outright debate follwed the work to every new city that dared to produce it. This paper will focus on the critical reception of the Wagner's historic music drama in two such cities: London and New York. By examining newspaper reviews, journal articles, and other musical writings of the time, we will develop an understanding of the divergent reactions to each premiere. We will examine the cultural and musical factors that may have contributed to the vehemence of both sides of the dispute. Most of all, we will evalute the enduring effect that Tristan und Isolde, and Wagner himself, had on the English- speaking world.

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