Letter: Hitler's debt to Wagner

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Letter: Hitler's debt to Wagner

YOUR correspondent asks about the "embryonic Nazism" in Parsifal. He should look at the opera in conjunction with Wagner's contemporary essays, the so-called "Regeneration writings", which make clear his obsessions of the period (and Wagner was explicit about the connection between them, by the way). Racial purity and regeneration of the species through the agency of uncorrupted, Aryan blood; the purging of impure racial elements; the concept of the Aryan Jesus: all these are present. There is far more to Parsifal than this, of course - it is a multi-faceted work rich in symbolism - but we cannot afford to ignore its darker underside.

Barry Millington

London NW11