Wagner audiences are especially challenged to fathom the meaning of his operas, for there is much mystery as to just what they depict. This study attempts to meet that challenge for the ten operas - from
The Flying Dutchman to
Parsifal - that Wagner considered to embody his particular poetic genius and which indeed continue to be regularly performed. The texts of the ten works are examined with special attention to the role of erotic passion, a subject usually relegated to secondary importance in Wagner criticism.