Wagner & Me | Chicago Reader

Wagner & Me

89 minutes 2012

British actor Stephen Fry (Gosford Park, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) sets out on an extended pilgrimage to learn about his musical idol, Richard Wagner, covering the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth, Germany, and making side trips to the composer's haunts in Switzerland and Saint Petersburg. The ultimate Wagner fanboy, he trembles with excitement as he tours the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, watching rehearsals and exploring backstage, and visits the glorious homes and theaters where the master once worked. At the same time, though, Fry is a Jew who lost relatives in the Holocaust, and as he explains at the outset, he needs to come to terms with the fact that Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite and a hero of the Nazis. This 2010 documentary is a sustained attempt to separate Wagner from his music, which proves easier for Fry than separating himself from it. Patrick McGrady directed.

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