My Travels with Wagner: Music As Balsam for the Soul (Hardcover)
Irish National Opera Director Fergus Sheil writes:
It was bittersweet to read this book and write this foreword in the summer of 2020. At the time of writing, opera houses around the world are closed due to the catastrophic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. A huge international machine of opera production that generates thousands of productions for millions of audience members has completely ground to a halt. The enforced stoppage has triggered some profound questions about the necessity of opera and all of the arts and of our importance or irrelevance for society. For those of us involved in producing opera, it's a moment where we reflect on why we do what we do and what are its deeper meanings and purposes.
Author Chris McQuaid is a retired Irish Army officer who served six tours of duty between 1963 and 1980 with Irish UN peacekeeping missions in the Congo, Cyprus, and South Lebanon.
He holds a bachelor's degree in commerce and a degree in psychology from University College, Dublin. The author retired from active service in 1986 and worked with the Medical Council and later with Irish Air Corps in a civilian role at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.
An ardent music lover, he founded the Wagner Society of Ireland in 2002.
Want a true balm for the soul?
My Travels with Wagner tells the story of how author Chris McQuaid's journey took him from young Irish soldier suffering from PTSD, to the finest opera houses in Europe and a passion for the music of Richard Wagner.
The 19th-century composer produced dramatic operas and musical works that greatly influenced the course of Western music.
Bruce Arnold, author and journalist, writes in a review: "I was a lover of Wagner's music long before I came to Ireland and listened for hours on the floor of my brother's flat in Putney, in the early 1950s. Soon afterwards I went to Bayreuth - and went on going. When I came to Ireland, I joined the Wagner Society and met Ireland's supreme Wagnerian, Chris McQuaid. I left the society when he did, in deep sympathy, and sharing his unparalleled love and knowledge. It is reflected, over again, in this book, rich in passionate concern for Richard Wagner and his unique place in Music."
(About the Author)
Chris McQuaid's first book was Elegy for a Broken Soldier. "I am a retired army officer and my chief occupation is music." His motivation for this book: "I wanted to write about Wagner's music for many years to emphasise the importance of music, and its power to heal and to engender an appreciation of classical music among a wider audience."