Larry Wolff is Silver Professor of History at NYU, executive director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and, most recently, the author of The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotion on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). (August 2017)

NYR DAILY

Wagner on Trial

In Barrie Kosky’s new production of Die Meistersinger, which opened the 2017 Bayreuth Festival, the musical cobbler Hans Sachs has been restyled as his creator Richard Wagner, isolated in the witness box at the Nuremberg Trials, and we the audience have now become the tribunal, passing judgment on him. Sachs, singing of German art, seems to be desperately pleading for absolution after the vicious ways in which German high culture—and especially Wagner’s music—was harnessed to the ideology of Nazism.