Concerning Expression

When we wish to study a role or a song, we have first to master the

intellectual content of the work. Not till we have made ourselves a

clear picture of the whole should we proceed to elaborate the details,

through which, however, the impression of the whole should never be

allowed to suffer. The complete picture should always shine out

through all. If it is too much broken into details, it becomes a thing

of shreds an

So petty accessories must be avoided, that the larger outline of the

whole picture shall not suffer. The complete picture must ever claim

the chief interest; details should not distract attention from it. In

art, subordination of the parts to the whole is an art of itself.

Everything must be fitted to the larger lineaments that should

characterize a masterpiece.

A word is an idea; and not only the idea, but how that idea in color

and connection is related to the whole, must be expressed. Therein is

the fearsome magic that Wagner has exercised upon me and upon all

others, that draws us to him and lets none escape its spell. That is

why the elaboration of Wagner's creations seems so much worth while to

the artist. Every elaboration of a work of art demands the sacrifice

of some part of the artist's ego, for he must mingle the feelings set

before him for portrayal with his own in his interpretation, and thus,

so to speak, lay bare his very self. But since we must impersonate

human beings, we may not spare ourselves, but throw ourselves into our

task with the devotion of all our powers.