Cover art for podcast Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Open Source with Christopher Lydon

50 EpisodesProduced by Christopher LydonWebsite

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics


Wagner and Wagnerism

This show originally aired on September 17, 2020.

Richard Wagner, man and musician, was the embodiment of excess—too much of a good thing if you loved him, something worse if you didn’t. Those weren’t just operas he was writing, but total works of art: multi-media folklore festivals, orgies of mind-bending sound, frenzied and addictive. It took him 25 years to compose his Ring cycle, and it takes a long weekend of late nights to perform it. For the World War II generations, it ruined Wagner for a while that Hitler loved his music. Still, Wagner’s presence is palpable everywhere, not for his musical genius alone but for his imprint on culture for a century now, up to and including Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and the sound of Hollywood.

Brünnhilde, by Arthur Rackham.

One of the signature sounds of Richard Wagner is the battle hymn of the mythical winged warrior sisters, the Valkyries, and we know that it’s something more than music. But what? It’s a clue to what Alex Ross of the New Yorker magazine calls “Wagnerism,” meaning the bizarre visions and irresistible influence, the spell that one musical genius cast on the world, maybe forever.

Wagner’s musical mega-shows in the 1860s were a far cry from the old Mozart and Verdi operas. His were longer, deeper, spell-binding fantasies of forbidden love and longing, wounded gods out of a jumble of world religions, German romanticism and ethno-nationalism all mixed up, naked river maidens in the Rhine and swooning beauty facing death in Tristan and Isolde.

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to Open Source with Christopher Lydon


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens