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YMMV / Richard Wagner

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  • Americans Hate Tingle: See Banned in China on the Trivia page.
  • Awesome Ego: By all accounts the man was a massive egotist and never afraid to share his high opinion of himself. Depending who you ask, that could make him either an Insufferable Genius who had a Determinator's faith in the value of his work— or just plain insufferable.
  • Designated Hero: The fitness of several of Wagner's heroes to protagonisthood has been questioned. ("How could Elisabeth choose that whiner Heinrich over Wolfram?")
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  • Ending Fatigue: Wagner has been accused of it.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: All of Wagner's operas are heavy on the Rule of Symbolism, and as a result many, many possible interpretations have been proposed.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Most Wagner fans will get salty if he's referred to as a "Nazi composer." For reference, the Nazi Party was formed around 1920; Wagner died in 1883. Wagner was involved with some left-wing and anarchist political groups, making it extremely unlikely that he would have approved of the Nazis' authoritarian views even if he hadn't been dead for almost 40 years before they existed. Some Nazis (yes, including the boss) were professed fans of Wagner, but that's a clear case of Hitler Ate Sugar.note 
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  • Fanon Discontinuity: Not too many fans of Wagner care about Die Feen or Das Liebesverbot. You might know of somebody who likes Rienzi, but he or she will probably enjoy everything thereafter as well.
  • Misattributed Song: No, Wagner did not write any part of Carmina Burana. Carl Orff began writing it in 1935 (Wagner had been dead for 52 years by then) and the collection of poems and texts it was based on dated back to the 13th century at the latest.
    • Nor did he write "In the Hall of the Mountain King." That was Edvard Grieg, but at least it was written within Wagner's lifetime (1875, 8 years before his death), making the error slightly more forgivable.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Asked for his favourite work of his own, Wagner once replied that it was the march for the 1876 world exhibition in Philadelphia. Why? Because it was the work for which he was paid best.
  • Music to Invade Poland To: Wagner is often used as background music for scenes of war-related activities (including World War II). This is partly because Those Wacky Nazis actually were fond of Wagner's music and occasionally used it in their propaganda, which has given it Unfortunate Implications in some circles to this day. Since Wagner himself died long before the Nazis rose to power, this may be largely a case of Hitler Ate Sugar; however, it's complicated by the fact that he is also on record with some nasty anti-semitic statements of his own. On the other hand, complicating things still further are the fact that Wagner was also a left-leaning socialist for much of his life, befriended Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakhunin and participated in the Dresden May Uprising (which got him exiled by the Saxon government), and expressed a strong distrust of power in his works (along with a belief in The Power of Love). In other words, much like the case of his erstwhile friend Friedrich Nietzsche, it is quite likely that his untimely death resulted in his appropriation by people of whom he is unlikely to have approved in the slightest.
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  • Older Than They Think: Many people think that the saxophones were invented in the Jazz Age, but Wagner had requested Adolphe Sax to figure out how to create an instrument to play a smooth brass/woodwind sound back in 1840.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Wagner's Musik der Zukunft ("The Music of the Future") was considered daringly, even outrageously, innovative in his own time; but he became so influential that his music is now reckoned old-fashioned and even stereotypical by some.
    • Wagner's leitmotif technique - that is, associating one musical idea with a particular character, item or feeling and repeating it whenever that/they recurred - was revolutionary at the time, but is standard practice in film music today. His writings also had a huge influence on the development of musical theater.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks! / Vindicated by History: Wagner's popularity dismayed many of his non-fans in the 1800s, some of them decrying the ruin of society. In Jules Verne's Paris in the Twentieth Century, a bitter composer describes Wagner as one of the worst things ever to happen to music:
    ... in the last century [the 1800s], a certain Richard Wagner, a sort of messiah who has been insufficiently crucified, invented the Music of the Future and we're still enduring it; in his day, melody was already being suppressed, and he decided it was appropriate to get rid of harmony as well — and the house has remained empty ever since. [Verne then spends the rest of the chapter describing the musical crimes of the Church of the Wagnerians, and how music was clearly ruined by this hard modern sound.]
    • Much to the horror of the "real music fans" (such as, apparently, Verne) this new artist's sound fused wild, overwhelmingly powerful overtures, interruptions of the melodic line with chaotic passages pitting the sections of the orchestra and melody against one another, occasional intentionally grating atonal chords, intense focus on the bass section, interwoven repeating musical phrases, and a dark, angsty sound. Worse, other composers embraced this sound, and it became hugely popular.


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