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Wagner pundit Robert Gutman dies at 90

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 10:41 am
by alberich00
Dear members of, and visitors to, the wagnerheim.com discussion forum:

I just learned from a friend that Robert Gutman, author of "Wagner: The Man, His Mind, and His Music," has passed away at age 90. The story is here in a NY Times obit:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/books ... .html?_r=0

I had a brief personal encounter with Robert Gutman back in November of 1983, when I attended "A Centennial Reappraisal: Wagner in Retrospect," a three day seminar involving lectures presented by a couple dozen Wagnerian pundit, sponsored by the Univ. of Illinois, Chicago Circle. I was staying in a hotel in downtown Chicago in which most of the presenters for the conference were staying, and one night after the conference I went down to the hotel bar, and sat several tables away from a group of Wagner notables who were presenters at the conference, including Robert Gutman. As soon as I can remember the names of the others present I'll post them here (I believe my memory is going!!!). One of them was the current Music Critic of the New Yorker (who passed away a couple of years ago, I think), and another one was a regular host of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

In any case, I sat listening closely to the conversation at their table, and didn't wish to invite myself to join them. However, Mr. Gutman was facing me on the other side of their table, and shouted over the shoulder of one of his comrades that I ought to join them (evidently he'd noticed me at the conference events and remembered me as having asked some provocative questions during the Q&A's). I tried mostly to maintain a low profile, but did offer my two cents of opinion in a couple of the discussions at the table. As we broke up to go up to our rooms, I will never forget Robert Gutman's comment to me: "You certainly know your Wagner, young man!"