Music: Wotan's Farewell

The only really likable characters in Wagnerian opera are old men. While the youthful Siegfrieds, Tristans and Tannhausers are all muscle—on the stage, mostly stomach—and ego, their elders (Wotan, Hans Sachs, Kurwenal, et al.) are mostly kindhearted, responsible, possessed of human failings and a regard for social obligations. For 20 years at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera these benign Wagnerian oldsters have been impersonated by the outstanding Wagnerian baritone of his generation, stocky, bald-headed Friedrich Schorr. Last week, before a packed house that rose to its feet and cheered, Friedrich Schorr sang Wotan...

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