Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/Richard Wagner/archive2

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Resolved questions by Gerda Arendt[edit]

  • Lead
    "his operas (or "music dramas", as they are sometimes called)" - Wagner himself didn't call his later works opera, but several other terms, that should be made clear here.
    "of classical music" - perhaps add "in general" because it is kind of surprising what kinds of music he influenced, although he was mainly a composer of what is often called opera (and he sometimes called Bühnenweihfestspiel for a reason)
    "His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music." - this strikes me at not really doing justice to his innovations, - perhaps at least connect to the previous sentence?
    It would make more sense to me to mention that he wrote his own libretti for his later works before mentioning Gesamtkunstwerk.
    I think the term "Bayreuther Festspiele (Bayreuth festive games)" deserves to be mentioned. It's sad that the "games" aspect - similar to Olympic Games - is lost in the common English name Festival.
    I would mention the antisemitic writings first, the general influence at the end of the lead.
  • General
    The article would be more accessable if German language terms were marked as such, {{lang|de|Gesamtkunstwerk}} and if the article had an infobox. I suggest to use Infobox person and volunteer to do it.
    Look for the term "opera" and see if it fits.

When I have time, I will look more closely, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:42, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Dear Gerda, some general comments on your comments.
  • "his operas (or "music dramas", as they are sometimes called)" - this is just the lead; not everyone reading the article will be a music expert and it will lead to more confusion than clarity if the text at this point starts dithering as to 'what is an opera'. The terminology is clarified later in the article; at this point I believe it would be WP:UNDUE.
    To say "as he called them" would not add weight, imo, Gerda Arendt (talk)
  • "of classical music" - to stick 'in general' after this does not I believe add anything - I am sure, for example, that [[[User:SandyGeorgia]] would object to it as otiose (see his comments above) :-}
  • "His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music." -the fact that this sentence follows the previous one indicates that it is in every way consequent. Again, to elaborate further in the lead would be I feel WP:UNDUE.
    How about a semicolon, instead of the full stop, to connect them visibly? Gerda Arendt (talk)
  • "mention that he wrote his own libretti for his later works before mentioning Gesamtkunstwerk." - I agree and will seek to cpyedit - but I don't want to lose the balance of the paragraphs.
    it's only the order, it IS mentioned later Gerda Arendt (talk)
  • "Bayreuther Festspiele (Bayreuth festive games)" - this is a point difficult to elicit in English without getting into WP:UNDUE detail. It seems to me the point belongs not in this article but in the one on the Bayreuth Festival.
  • The issue of W's antisemitism generated a lot of heat and useless squabble about a year ago. By putting it at the end I actually feel it has more impact on the reader than burying it at the start of a paragraph.
  • Where there are German words that lead directly to an article - e.g. Gesamtkunstwerk - I cannot see the need for marking them as German.
    I feel the same, and I feel that is undue impact. He is a composer, after all. Gerda Arendt (talk)
  • I am entirely against having a infobox for this article. Wagner's life and music is a very complex topic and I am certain that an infobox would damage the article by giving inappropriate or highly debatable prominence to some aspects, and/or by under-reporting other aspects. Moreover, Gerda, as you know, the whole issue of infoboxes is extremely ontroversial and the overwhelming opinion of editors on the Opera, Wagner, and Classical Music Projects is against having them.--Smerus (talk) 15:31, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
    If anybody knows that, it's me. The topic is not so controversial outside Classical music, look at Richard Nixon and Franz Kafka, for example. I believe that the average reader would be served by an infobox, and that it should be present in an(y) FA about a person, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:04, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Gerda! As you see I have recast the lead according to your suggestions. Let's see if others have comments on the other issues. I should add that a further point about W's anti-semitism is that, whether you and I like it or not, it is probable that a good number of people come to the article to find out about this aspect of him, who have not the slightest interest in his music. As WP is there to inform, we should neither unduly highlight such matters nor should we unduly suppress them. --Smerus (talk) 17:56, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I would also add, re your comment about the infobox, that compared to Wagner, Nixon and Kafka were relatively 'one-dimensional' people who could be contained within the spheres of politics and literature resepctively. But in any case the infoboxes for both of those articles are dry lists which do not convey an inkling of why their subjects are 'interesting', 'important' or 'significant' - in short they are a complete waste of space. They certainly do not provide persuasive examples for an infobox for Wagner.--Smerus (talk) 20:49, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for acting in the lead, much to my liking!
  • Infobox: it does not aim to talk about his significance. To have a "dry" sequence of where he was active when and what he composed (I chose the order of composition, but gave the years of premieres) would be helpful and not damaging if you ask me. I tried a start in my sandbox, (y'all) feel free to improve and comment. Some data are missing in the article ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:08, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
  • In the article, I took the liberty to change the one English title to the German Der fliegende Holländer, for consistency with the others. I would actually like to see the article moved. To say that The Flying Dutchman was performed in Bayreuth seems strange.
  • It helps readers to have the {{lang}} template for foreign language expressions, just think of readers who need screenreaders, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:08, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
In response:
1) I am afraid I remain resolutely against an infobox. I don't wish to regenerate this argument here - as we are supposed to be considering on this page whether or not the article should be FA. FA is not conditional on infobox. I beg you to keep the infobox discussion separate,(e.g. on WikiProject Opera or some other suitable location), otherwise this FA page risks becoming overwhelmed. There is plenty of time to add an infobox later if the consensus is in favour. But this page is not the right place to agitate a controversial issue which is independent of the Richard Wagner article.
I will say no more here, as you requested, but think we should make the article as good as possible, not just look at minimum requirement. Gerda Arendt (talk)
2) I changed it back since the link should go to the existing article, not to a redirect (and this I think IS an FA requirement). If the opera article is retitled we can change the Wagner article then.
I think you refer to that the article name should not be a piped link, in this case Richard Wagner. - Please look at Kafka again, it uses all German titles, although the linked articles are ALL have English titles on Wikipedia, for example Der Process (The Trial). - In this case it is only one opera which is inconsistent with all the others which are German. I requested to move that one, for consistency. Gerda Arendt (talk)
3) I believe the tl/lang template is just clutter when there is a link to an article with a foreign title in English Wikipedia. Again this is not an Fa requirement.
See above for not only minimum requirement. It is not clutter, but helps blind readers, for example. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:35, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Best ---Smerus (talk) 14:14, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Dear Gerda, as regards the tl/lang template, you are welcome then to add it if you wish. As regards the Hollaender, I actually agree with you but after much debate some time ago the title of the article was retained as the Dutchman. If you wish to move a name change you will get my support. In the meantime I believe we should retain the English title in the RW article; but I am happy to change it if it does not risk the FA nomination. Best, --Smerus (talk) 14:48, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I consider all the above handled, thank you.

  • Do we know when he moved from Würzburg to Magdeburg, and from Riga to Paris?
  • "Early years": the second paragraph is a mix of family, school and music, with not many refs, not many dates, in no discernable order. For example: I would be surprised if he saw Freischütz before going to school, - but is of course possible. Other than that, the section is fine with me. - In general: I find it difficult to follow the refs, I am used to links to the bibliography. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:44, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks - I have added dates, and tidied the paragraph up, and given sources.--Smerus (talk) 20:31, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Thank you!

"Early career (1833–42)"

  • Magdeburg 1834?
  • "leading ladies at Magdedburg" - a bit more specific perhaps?
  • "third and fourth operas" - I would expect "opera" but that may be my Germanic English ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:32, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I have corrected a spelling error in the text in this section, but I believe the text itselef to be OK.It is indeed 'operas' by the way in cooloquial English.--Smerus (talk) 17:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
"Leading ladies", - I would think in society, but it's theatre, - may be it's just me who thinks that way ;)
ps: should his siblings be mentioned? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 18:50, 22 January 2013 (UTC)


  • In the infobox I tried to collect data on beginning of composition and first performance for the major operas. Some dates are missing in Wagner's article, and Götterdämmerung is not even mentioned in the bio section.
  • Can we change the references to link to the bibliography, as in Kafka?

"Dresden (1842–49)"

  • I would like to see a link for Hofoper, but it's confusing even in German ;) This is closest.
  • I think to pipe Kingdom to German state is nonsense, - Germany didn't even exist then.
  • the pic belongs rather to the previous section, both "Steckbrief" and a pic of the opera house would fit better here, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:26, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
  • siblings are already mentioned in detail in note 1.
  • You already know my opinion on the infobox, and I think we agreed not to discuss it further on this page - t is disappointing to see you raise the topic again. The infobox issue is quite separate from FA status. Please do not confuse the debate here by bringing it in.
  • If you want to make the changes to the bibliography you are welcome. I don't have the timeto do this. If you do it, please make sure that you are entirely accurate!!!! - otherwise the whole article will be thrown out of joint.
  • This is exactly why I am doubtful about 'ill' links, it risks ending up very confusing for the English reader. This is already the case where we now have redlinks - unacceptable in an FA article, I think - followed by 'ill' links. Please reconsider this, you risk making the article off-putting for nonspecialists. And Wikipedia is for nonspecialists. In any case - you might have checked - an article for the Opera House already exists, Semperoper, and I have provided a link. I am going to check the policy re 'ill' links, with a view to withdrawing those you have made. Please do not make any more until this issue is resolved.
  • Agreed, I have changed this.
  • I completely disagree: the Steckbrief explains why he was in exile, which is the topic of the paragraph.
Gerda, I suggest in general that it would be more helpful if you could continue to make suggestions improving the article in factual and stylistic matters related specifically to the FA status, and could avoid expressions of personal opinion about what the article ought to be like. You have to accept that different editors would inevitably write the article in different ways. In this case, for my sins, I had the largest responsibility in bringing the article to its present state, so inevitably the basis is the way I and a few others wrote it. It is too late to change that unless you want to rewrite the whole thing yourself; in which case I will gladly withdraw my FA submission.--Smerus (talk) 16:07, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry about a few misunderstandings:
  • I missed the siblings ;)
  • I do NOT discuss an infobox, but now it is the place where the dates of composition and performances are collected (or where else?), just look for those, please.
  • Are red links really not acceptable in an FA? - I know someone who may fill them.
  • Please check "ill"-policy, I will add no more, although I find them helpful, not confusing, - at least they tell that someone/something is notable in a different Wikipedia and are the easiest way to find the person there.
  • Today's Semperoper was not built when Wagner worked in Dresden, I suggest to #History.
  • Can we agree that the MOS for image placement says to avoid a left pic at the beginning of a section?
Going to respect the status quo more, don't be afraid, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:58, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Filling the redlinks with English artiles would be the ideal solution of course!
  • I agree, we should link to the Ur-Semperopera
  • MOS also says people should look inwards. We have to take a view here - literally. The positions do not appear to compromise FA status.
Best, --Smerus (talk) 17:05, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
People should look inwards, but some could do so a few lines into the text, not right under the heading. The Steckbrief doesn't look ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Dear Gerda - we don't need to be too literal. MOS is a guide, not a straitjacket. MOS is concerned that text may not be easy to locate. But all the text in this article is easy to locate. Noone else has ried any objection. Perhaps our problems come from the differences beween German and English perspectives :-} - but as this is English WP I venture to claim a smidgin of priority in being laid-back.--Smerus (talk) 21:02, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't quite know what you mean by problems? Laid-back sounds good to me ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:09, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
 ;-} --Smerus (talk) 07:12, 24 January 2013 (UTC)"In exile: Switzerland (1849–58)"
  • "Before leaving Dresden" - wouldn't it be better to place that in the Dresden context? That would clarify how early he dealt with the Ring story.
  • Perhaps link Schopenhauer's "will" to Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung?
  • I would let him meet the Wesendoncks first and then have him infatuated ;)
  • Is it too picky to notice that after "Amongst the conducting engagements", I would not expect "he gave concerts" (but engagements)? Simpler perhaps? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:19, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

ps: I moved the Festspielhaus to the right because that way it was facing inwards, learning ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:23, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

comments: 1)"Before leaving Dresden" - more breathing space to place it here, or it gets lost in the reovlution. 2) Agreed, and done. 3) It's OK to phrase it this way. Don't get too hung up on word placement, this is a German characteristic :-} 4) This is right; some engagments were concerts, some were not (e.g. operas). Hope you have noticed the instant appearance of August Röckel. Best --Smerus (talk) 15:10, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
great! one off my to-do-list ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:13, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
and now Kreuzschule.--Smerus (talk) 16:20, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Smerus, are you sure that you did not overlook User:SandyGeorgia's later comments? Toccata quarta (talk) 16:41, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure I did, but I will get round to them soon! Too drunk at present.--Smerus (talk) 21:28, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Röckel progressing nicely! "In exile: Venice and Paris (1858–62)"

  • in "she was to him "an invalid, to be treated with kindness and consideration, but, except at a distance, [was] a menace to his peace of mind."", I think the repetition of [was] is no immprovement. (Hope I am not a menace to your peace of mind.) No, this usage is perfectly comfortable in everyday English. --Smerus (talk) 12:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "parted from each other", better than "parted"? (learning English) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:53, 25 January 2013 (UTC) Why? The comments from some reviewers seem to be becoming inceasingly irrelevant to FA status. Some (e.g. Gerda) want to add a few words, some (e.g. SandyGeorgia) want to take a few words out. In neither case does the sense of the article change. Does any of this make much difference to the quality of the article as an informed, coherent, sourced, coverage of the topic for the general reader? I would appreciate a third party indicating whether or not these types of critique are really useful, as I have many better things to do with my time than answer them.--Smerus (talk) 12:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I can't help if you think a question is "critique". A simple "no" would have answered, - and left me with less required reading. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:50, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

ps: The interesting article on the poetry of the Ring puts it to 1848. I feel that where it is now (Switzerland, after 1851), it gets lost in the antisemitc, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:59, 25 January 2013 (UTC) I disagree, and it doesn't seem to have worried anyone else in this review.--Smerus (talk) 12:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

fine, just asking, I can take no for an answer. - I am used to questions in the FA review, sorry that I missed the Peer review, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:50, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

"Bayreuth (1871–76)"

  • "Since Wagner's death, the festival has been directed by his widow, his son, the latter's widow, their two sons and now two of the composer's great-granddaughters. Since 1973, the festival has also been overseen by the Richard-Wagner-Stiftung (Richard Wagner Foundation), the members of which include a number of Wagner's descendants." - I would prefer to see these lines not in the biography section (heading: 1876), but under legacy, and with names and links of the family members mentioned: "Since Wagner's death, the festival has been directed by his widow, his son, the latter's widow Winifred Wagner, their two sons Wieland Wagner and Wolfgang Wagner, and now two of the composer's great-granddaughters, Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner." --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:45, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I think you are right!!--Smerus (talk) 12:08, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

"Last years (1876–83)"

  • "by the prospect of the work being performed by other theatres than Bayreuth" - as far as I know he was against it, that seems not clear That's what it says, the prospect troubled him.--Smerus (talk) 14:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Christianity: I don't have access to the source, but don't find much Christianity in Parsifal, just a few images? Ahem! And the Grail is?.....and the spear?....and the mention of the Redeemer? It is mentioned in a paragraph on articles. Did he write an article on it, or what does the following "these articles" mean?'These articles' means what is says, the articles mentioned and referenced in the paragraph.--Smerus (talk) 14:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There is no Grail in Christianity, nor a spear. "Redeemer" is used in Christianity, but not only in Christianity. - What does the source say is Christian about Parsifal. - Communion on stage has been seen as blasphemy, as far as I know. - Did Wagner write an article on Christianity? If yes, please the title, if no, better move the passage from a paragraph dealing with his articles. Gerda Arendt (talk)
Gerda, you are the only person I have ever come across who finds no references to Christianity in Parsifal! I am away presently from my library, but let me see what I can do.--Smerus (talk) 16:11, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
I find references, images, yes, - but no Christian ideas, for example. - But it doesn't matter what I find, important is what the sources say ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 16:22, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
I have now addressed this issue with an apporpriate source dealing both with Wagner's Christianity and his unconventional approach to Christianity; and I have put this where it belongs, in the section on Parsifal, as it would be out of place in the biography section. The exsting article on Parisfal needs extensive rewriting on this and other matters - (as does the article on Hermann Levi) - but that is not an issue for here.--Smerus (talk) 21:17, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
and I have further added ad sourced a quote from Wagner himself describing Parsifal as "this most Christian of works". OK now I hope?--Smerus (talk) 22:14, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • perhaps mention that the conductor of Parsifal was Jewish?Why? Of course it's interesting, but it's not central here, and is dealt with in Wagner controversies.--Smerus (talk) 14:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
fine Gerda Arendt (talk)
  • in the Cosima Wagner FAC, we agreed that it is "Bayreuth Festival", but "the festival", I changed.thanks --Smerus (talk) 14:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "Franz Liszt's two piano pieces titled La lugubre gondola evoke the passing of a black-shrouded funerary gondola bearing Wagner's remains over the Grand Canal." - perhaps mention the funerary gondola first, then the derived Liszt pieces?Gerda, with these little things, why not just WP:BEBOLD and do them?--Smerus (talk) 14:04, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:00, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I was bold changing to "Der fliegende Holländer". Boldness left me when it was reverted ;) - can you please start new lines for inline comments? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:31, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
adopt my motto: 'nil carborundum illegitimi'. ;-} --Smerus (talk) 16:11, 27 January 2013 (UTC)


  • "leitmotifs, musical phrases that can be interpreted as announcing specific characters ..." - may be I have a limited understanding of "announce", - some leitmotifs refer/relate to motives of the story that may have been in the past, - is "announce" the best possible word? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:53, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I rate my English as both good and appropriate.--Smerus (talk) 12:35, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

"Early works (to 1842)"

  • I was bold and made some changes. Rienzi: I saw the opera on stage, it's quite powerful - no mature Wagner, of course - and seems a bit lost within the early attemps. Perhaps a little section of its own, Grand opera?
I think this is a very bad idea which would lead to endless and tedious comment. I have also seen Rienzi and enjoyed it, btw. --Smerus (talk) 12:35, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Translations: Die Laune des Verliebten is given as The infatuated lover's caprice, surprise, no idea why "infatuated". Source? I would say The lover's caprice. Männerlist größer als Frauenlist is very freely translated to "Men are more cunning than women", literally "Mens' cunning greater than womens' cunning". --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:33, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
They are the translations in the WP articles. Questions belong there, not here.--Smerus (talk) 12:35, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

All the above is resolved from my point of view. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:54, 28 January 2013 (UTC)