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Wagner and somnabulance

Yesterday in our opera class my neighbour fell asleep as we listened to Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. I immediately thought of the judge censured for falling asleep at court.

Of course there is a world of difference between sleeping on duty and sleeping in a class. In both cases though it is assumed that the somnambulist is asleep out of boredom and is disrespectful. This is unfair.

Reading Andrew Roberts’ excellent biography of Winston Churchill, I learned that the latter was an afternoon napper but as a prodigiously hard worker would also work throughout the night often from his bed.

Ivan Conway is ribbed by his fellow members of the Players Club of Sussex CCC as, after his plate of cheese and full glass of claret, he is zizzing away in his rattan chair.

However as he points out how many of his ribbers are like him who rises no later than 4.00am.

Our opera teacher, whilst deeply knowledgeable on opera, is not that adept at communication.

It must be difficult to assess the level of knowledge of the class. He tends to be technical emphasising the importance of Richard Wagner rather than his life.

I think students prefer stories about the composers so many of whom led extraordinary lives and in the case of Wagner was a deeply flawed man.

About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts