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The Wagnerian Fuhrer

By Michael Moriarty
web posted April 30, 2018

In light of last week’s return to Nazi Germany’s Holocaust and Reinhard Heydrich’s villainy, my recent thoughts about Richard Wagner’s Parsifal and its climactic importance within my first opera, Wagner in Hell, demand to be shared.

Nothing has so perplexed me about my sworn-enemy, Richard Wagner, as his final opera, Parsifal.

The four-hour pilgrimage of Parsifal that, in some ways, approaches being Wagner’s greatest masterpiece, leaves too many questions open about Wagner’s final feelings about anything?!

One is, I suspect deliberately, left in an intentional quandary!

How can this well-known and legendary, sexual seducer have us believe that the ultimate and possibly celibate Yurodivy, Parsifal, becomes Wagner’s most seriously considered role-model for the future?!

Again, rather like many villainous legends, the limitless hypocrisy of Lucifer’s genius!

Wagner obviously and most heinously tries to paint himself as ultimately a Yurodivy or “Sacred Fool”.

Wagner’s genius, however, had already told him the fate of his own Nazi Soul and, with Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, he declared himself an inevitably extinct species!

You cannot behave like a Fuhrer of Music for all of your life and then, somehow, paint yourself as Parsifal!

Or can you?

Wagner certainly thought you could.

The opera, however, despite its pedantically Wagnerian lectures, is musically one of his most ruthlessly ravishing; which makes me feel that, on the face of it, Wagner is more Kundry than Parsifal.

It all fits with Wagner’s homophobic feelings around the very pansexually self-conscious and infinitely complicated Friedrich Nietzsche.

If anyone should have played the Yurodivy, it was Nietsche.

Yurodivys, however, don’t fall as madly in love with anyone as the almost insanely philosophic Friedrich Nietzsche fell dangerously in love with Richard Wagner.

 

Thank God, Nietzsche’s soul

 saw more deeply into Richard Wagner

than anyone else has since then,

before-then

or even now.

I love Friedrich Nietzsche not because of his indisputably intellectual genius but because of the profundity of his animal instincts about Richard Wagner.

Only Nietzsche seemed to know the implications arising out of Wagner’s record-setting gifts.

That no one listened seriously enough to Nietzsche’s warnings?!

Hitler, with the Wagner family’s blessings and Richard Wagner’s popularization of Anti-Semitism in Germany, not only brought us World War II, but also made the whole world pay a price for falling in love with the mythically hate-filled dramas of Richard Wagner!

Without the indisputable blessings of Wagnerians, Adolf Hitler would have remained Germany’s version of America’s Louis Farrakhan. 

Wagnerian scholars argue over the amount of Anti-Semitism existing in Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal.

However, Parsifal is anything and everything except Jewish!

 

Clearly, Wagner,

 in his last opera, Parsifal,

did not mention the name of either Jesus

or Christ

 because he had never really

in his entire life,

 acknowledged the Jewish Jesus

as Christ,

the savior. 

Mythically Welsh in origin, Parsifal arises mysteriously out of nowhere within what reveals itself as a Christian-like commune.

The names, Christ and Jesus, however, are never mentioned in the opera.

Parsifal’s ascension in the opera to the very leadership and heroic salvation of this commune actually replaces what most audience members could, perhaps foolishly assume was Christ.

Here are portions of William Kinderman’s article about the problems of Parsifal:

“Two centuries after Richard Wagner’s birth in 1813, his final music drama Parsifal continues to exert uncanny fascination, as Francois Girard’s new production at the Metropolitan Opera shows. For much of his life, Wagner was captivated by the legends of the Holy Grail; this “stage consecration festival play” is his culminating work. Dark episodes in Parsifal’s performance history display clearly the risks of its aesthetic treatment of redemption, which can project a hypnotic portrayal of collective identity. It was not without justification that Friedrich Nietzsche likened the exquisite music of Parsifal to the treacherous temptress Circe, claiming that ‘one must be a cynic in order not be seduced… and able to bite, in order not to adore.’

“The Bayreuth Circle regarded themselves as Knights of the Grail committed to promote a racist nationalist vision of Germanic self-realization. Decades after the composer’s death in 1883, the Wagner clan grouped itself around the propagandist Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who had married Wagner’s daughter Eva. Chamberlain espoused a religiously oriented anti-Semitism, hailing Adolf Hitler in 1924 as a “god-sent benediction”. At the renewal of the Wagner Festival at Bayreuth that year, Wagner’s son Siegfried hoisted not the banner of the Weimar republic, whose black-red-gold tricolor his father had honored in 1849, but instead the imperial flag, a choice signaling his reactionary disdain for democracy and internationalism.

“At the outset of the Third Reich, Hitler was depicted as a Parsifal-like figure in a manner that absorbs the imagery from Wagner’s work.

Hitler as Parsifal
Hitler as Holy Spear-holding, Nazi Parsifal

 

“In 1933, the year Hitler rose to power, a book on Parsifal was published by Alfred Lorenz, who identified German’s new leader with Parsifal. For Lorenz, the closing affirmative music of Wagner’s drama discloses Wagner’s “prophetic thoughts” about a “new Parsifal religion,” enabling the listener to experience through the music the following insight, which he highlights in spaced-out print:

‘W e  s h o u l d  o v e r c o m e  d e c a y

  a n d  a s  a  r a c i a l l y h i g h – b r e d  p e o p l e  

a d v a n c e  t o  v i c t o r y.’”

Recent productions of Parsifal, as the one discussed by William Kinderman, have attempted to soften the undeniably racist inferences within it.

Indeed, and again, like Farrakhan’s Black Panthers, the more complex Parsifal becomes, due to apologists for Wagner’s racism, the more obvious is their undeniable Evil.  ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@yahoo.com. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.

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