Humanities 5

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  • Read, listen to, and watch the sources for the opera composers at the Websites below. Describe the major influences that Verdi, Wagner, or Puccini exerted upon opera in terms of making it more innovative, realistic, and even controversial. Next, consider Wagner and this dilemma: Wagner's brilliance is clear because his works remain some of the most popular and admired productions in our own time. Yet, he was a blatantly antisemitic and held notions of racial purity, traits that have stained his artistic legacy. (This was compounded by the later celebration of Wagner's music by Hitler and the Nazis). New York Times writer Anthony Tommasini wrote of Wagner in 2005: "How did such sublime music come from such a warped man? Maybe art really does have the power to ferret out the best in us." So, consider the issue of whether we should or can separate the artist from the art, whether we can appreciate the art but reject the artist. Or whether we should reject both the person and his or her art. Identify one (1) modern musician or artist where this dilemma arises.
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