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Dr Mark Berry interviewed for New York Times article on Wagner

Dr Mark Berry interviewed for New York Times article on Wagner

  • Date25 April 2022

Dr Mark Berry, Head of Music Department, featured in recent New York Times article on composer Richard Wagner.


Composer Richard Wagner.

Dr Mark Berry (Head of Department) was recently interviewed and quoted in a New York Times article on composer Richard Wagner (titled 'Germany Reckons with Wagner: Cultural Jewel, or National Shame?', written by Ben Miller) 

Quotation from the article: 

Mark Berry, who leads the music department at Royal Holloway, University of London, and has published widely on politics and religion in Wagner’s work, said Wagner had become something of a scapegoat in German attempts to come to terms with the country’s past. It was, he added, as if guilt about the murderous consequences of German antisemitism could be outsourced to one man who died long before the Nazis came to power.

“Clearly there are romantic nationalist elements in Wagner’s thought,” he said, “as there were in just about any German artist of that time. If one looks at his theoretical writing, however, he is adamant that the time of national characteristics in art is over, that this is to be an age of artistic universalism.”

Yes, Berry said, there were antisemitic tropes in Wagner’s music dramas, and antisemitic politics in his essays. But, he added, that doesn’t make the music itself antisemitic, and Wagner wasn’t the main conduit by which antisemitism became prominent in the German national mood, and the basis of genocidal state policy.‘


The full article can be read online:

Mark is author of the books After Wagner (2014) and Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner's "Ring" (2006), and together with Nicholas Vazsonyi, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (2020). 

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