Richard Wagner (Figure 5.1) was a sensualist, a lover of beautiful silk fabrics and perfumes, a great ­appreciator of the pleasures of the body. Interaction – between humans, and human and gods – was at the core of his dramatic narratives, and he was not afraid to expand on themes of sexual love and even incest. 1 Wagner’s commitment to the fusion of music and theatre and to the truth of the sung drama meant a demand for bodily manifestations of his ideals in his singers – he actively sought ones who were prepared to invest in his vision and produce the acting and singing styles he needed. 2 Wagner was intimately involved in the preparation of his operas and in coaching his singers. He was passionate about dramatic veracity and he seemed to prefer better actors over better singers. Hugely imaginative, he was disappointed in what the mis-en-scène (the stage setting, props, and costumes) of the time could achieve and he exhorted his creative colleagues to be always trying something new in his productions. 3 He greatly appreciated the inventiveness of Adolphe Appia in developing the scenographic and lighting designs, but his imagination still outstripped the technical possibilities of the day. 4 Richard Wagner in Paris, 1867. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-p.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9780429505218/9e41c8fb-b443-42ac-8da6-06dfc75c59b1/content/fig5_1_B.jpg"/>