Inside “The Ring”: Essays on Wagner’s Opera Cycle
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Inside The Ring: Essays on Wagner’s Opera Cycle
Edited by John Louis DiGaetani
Once tainted by association with Hitler and Nazism, Richard Wagner’s work has experienced an international cultural renaissance in the last 25 years. His magnum opus, Der Ring des Nibelungen, which took him over 20 years to finish, is a complex tale with themes of greed, corruption, and loss, spun out in more than 16 hours of powerfully moving opera. This book, with provocative essays for both the uninitiated and the seasoned fan, examines Wagner’s Ring cycle from a wide array of modern perspectives.
Divided into six parts, this anthology first offers a foundation for the Ring, with a chronology and an introduction, along with a look at Wagner as an enterprising marketer. Part Two explores different interpretations of the Ring, with reference to politics, romanticism and international inspirations. Part Three studies the complex relationship between Wagner’s Ring and Germany, with a summary of the opera’s influence on German culture and a discussion of its Munich premiere. Part Four offers a production history, including studies of the Ring’s effects in America and its influence on world literature. Part Five provides a technical examination of language in the Ring, as well as an interview with the famous Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen. The book concludes with an essay on the trouble with Wagnerian opera and an overview of the recorded Ring on disc, video and print.
John Louis DiGaetani, an English professor at Hofstra University, is the author of numerous books about opera and theater.
- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: McFarland & Company (February 27, 2006)
- Dimensions: 7” W x 0.8” D x 9.8” H
Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen
Conceived and written over a period of more than 25 years, Wagner’s Ring cycle is an epic musical journey of four operas: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Its story of gods, dwarves, and men and the quest for an all-powerful ring was inspired by many sources, including 13th-century Icelandic writings and the medieval German Nibelungenlied. The complete cycle was first seen at the inaugural Bayreuth Festival in 1876. The Met’s landmark production, directed by Robert Lepage, premiered over the course of the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. The DVD release of its Live in HD presentation won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
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