Simon Callow will take on the role of Richard Wagner in his latest one-man show, Inside Wagner’s Head, which opens at the Linbury Studio theatre later this year.
Playing from 6 to 29 September, the unique and intimate show promises to be “as controversial as the man himself”, conveying the composer’s true personality and what it was like for the people who knew him.
Drawing on Wagner’s own writing, particularly his racy and unreliable autobiography My Life, the Olivier Award-winning actor uses music, light, sound and language to conjure Wagner’s many guises, from political revolutionary and theatrical innovator to philosopher and creator of one of the world’s greatest opera houses.
Talking about the German composer, Callow, who is well known for his solo shows, having previously performed as Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, said: “To know Wagner is to become obsessed by him. I’ve tried to show how utterly original the man was. How shocking, how funny, how profound, how destructive. He is one of the absolute Titans of Western Art who often behaved disgracefully. I hope the audience will be appalled, amused and finally moved by the man. I certainly have been.”
Inside Wagner’s Head is playing as part of the sixth Deloitte Ignite contemporary arts festival, which this year is curated by actor, presenter and lifelong Wagner enthusiast Stephen Fry. Exploring the work of Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi in celebration of the 200th anniversary of their births, the annual festival unfolds from a unique Es Devlin-designed installation in Covent Garden Piazza and features a range of events including live radio broadcasts, performances and choral work.