Previous studies of Wagner’s operas have tended to approach the works as chunks of autobiography, philosophical speculations or historical-political comments on the age in which they were written. Dahlhaus dissociated himself from all such ventures. His aim is to reveal, by careful analysis of the works from Der fliegende Hollander to Parsifal, the dominant features of ‘music drama’ and how Wagner achieves such profound, unified effects. Dahlhaus cites music examples only when they are germane to his argument and requires from his readers no more than a limited amount of technical musical knowledge. This is not, therefore, an exclusively specialist study. Rather it will help the enthusiastic beginner to come to terms with these great works of art as well as offering many valuable insights to the experienced Wagnerian. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of music history, theory, opera and philosophy.