Just returned from Tannhauser. It re-creates by the magic of sound the world-old, magnificent and terrible struggles between good and evil. I cannot understand what Wagner’s critics were driving at. Far from being incomprehensible, it makes you understand.
The leading male (Menzinski) has a beautiful voice, under great restraint and reserve. It swells, organlike from his lips. (Arrival of first devotee of Bacchus – today being pay-day – very boozy and repentant) – I don’t care how mad it sounds, but you can see Wagner’s music, as well as hear it. In one part it gave a picture of magnificent spiral bubbles shooting up through an iridescent ocean. At another it presented horizontal waves, interchanging intricately in the same planes.
I am in danger of being a convert to the opinion that Grand Opera offers the greatest scope of all art forms, but shall probably recant on reading again (say) Prometheus Unbound. Thus spouteth the vacillating dilettante.
My dipsomaniac, after visiting a neighbouring and lugubrious flautist, and raising a raucous bass in unison, returns in gleaming Hun helmet for my gratification, and retires flute-wards after effective dumb show. Enter reveller No.2, who after short exposition, goes to sleep fully dressed. Ten by the wrist-watch – and yet three away!