Opera Explained: Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung (Audiobook 2-CD)

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Description

Opera Explained: Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung (Audiobook 2-CD)

Composer: Richard Wagner
Author & Narrator: Stephen Johnson
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Naxos
CD Release Date: September 1, 2007
Run Time: 159 minutes

Wagner’s Ring cycle is the most ambitious work in the history of music: four operas that combine to tell a single epic story. Based in legend, it has become a legend in its own right: a supreme challenge for conductors, singers, opera producers, and indeed for audiences. But for all its grandeur and complexity, The Ring is far more accessible than many music lovers think. This 2-CD guide explains the basics of the plot, profiles the leading characters, and shows how Wagner’s revolutionary music adds fascinating layers of meaning and psychological insight, as well as providing some of the most stirring and intoxicating moments in the entire operatic repertoire.

Opera Explained
This series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias taken from the Naxos recording of the complete work, Thomson Smillie is informative yet entertaining, enabling the listener to get more from this remarkable art form.



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History

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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