This course will examine the most controversial and multifaceted of composers. We will begin with Wagner’s relationship to German philosophers such as Feuerbach and Schopenauer, then continue with his mature operas. We will also discuss Wagner’s revolutionary harmonies, his visionary conception of opera, his profound influence on other composers, and his career-making relationships with such figures as Liszt, Nietzche, and King Ludwig II. Lastly, we will confront the darker side of Wagner: his scandal-ridden personal life and his infamous antisemitism. Works studied will include Der Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg.