But so long as we treat Wagner like a prose philosopher, a librettist, a poet, a mere musician, or anything short of the complex and many-sided artist he really is, we shall find insuperable obstacles to understanding or enjoying his works.
Wagner's choice of subjects had from the outset shown an imagination far above that of any earlier librettist; yet he had begun with stories which could attract ordinary minds, as he dismally realized when the libretto of Der fliegende Hollander so pleased the Parisian wire-pullers that it was promptly set to music by one of their friends.
Again, the appeal to " God's judgment " in the trial by battle in Lohengrin is a subject of which no earlier librettist could have made more than a plausible mess - which is the best that can be said for the music as music. But as dramatist Wagner compels our respect for the power that without gloss or apology brings before us the king, a model of royal fair-mindedness and good-nature, acquiescing in Telramund's monstrous claim to accuse Elsa without evidence, simply because it is a hard and self-evident fact that the persons of the drama live in an age in which such claims seemed reasonable.
Scribe, who shared with him, as librettist, the success and growing popularity of his compositions.
His CEuvres completes (new edition, 1855) contains a biographical notice by his brother, Germain Delavigne, who is best known as a librettist in opera.
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