People who take to the Wagner Experience encounter something wonderful, like gazing into a silver mirror which dissolves into a miraculous, self-contained world, glinting with life-changing possibilities. There are others who sense its appeal but find it difficult, and the first aim of this study is to provide an Open Sesame for anyone wanting it.' From the author's introduction In this bicentenary celebration of Wagner and his music, Paul Dawson-Bowling introduces, deepens and enriches the Wagner Experience for the newcomer and the seasoned Wagnerian alike. Expounding in colourful style the stories, the sources and the lessons of Wagner's great dramas, he offers unusual insights into the man, his works and their meaning, while grappling with the music's almost occult power. Before taking us through the ten great dramas themselves, he discusses Wagner's formative experiences, his aspirations and his mentality; also his first wife Minna and her immense but unrecognised impact. This sets up lenses through which the reader may more accurately view not only Wagner the man and his less appealing aspects, but, more importantly, his stage works, since, as Dawson-Bowling insists, the best encounter with Wagner's dramas is the direct one. Uniquely drawing on a lifetime's experience in General Medical Practice, the author brings a wisdom, humanity and psychological understanding to his study of the life and work of Wagner, with especial reference to the thought of Carl Jung. Above all, this book draws out the vital lessons which Wagner's extraordinary, didactic dramas can offer us. It reveals their lessons as life-enhancing: capable of transforming our society, our lives and ourselves. There is no other book about Wagner quite like it.