Wagner's Ring Cycle and the Greeks
Through his reading of primary and secondary classical sources, as well as his theoretical writings, Richard Wagner developed a Hegelian-inspired theory linking the evolution of classical Greek politics and poetry. This book demonstrates how, by turning theory into practice, Wagner used this evolutionary paradigm to shape the music and the libretto of the Ring cycle. Foster describes how each of the Ring's operas represents a particular phase of Greek poetic and political development: Das Rheingold and Die Walküre create epic national identity in its earlier and later stages respectively; Siegfried expresses lyric personal identity; and Götterdämmerung destructively culminates with a tragi-comedy about civic identity. This study sees the Greeks through the lens of those scholars whose work influenced Wagner most, focusing on epic, lyric, and comedy, as well as Greek tragedy. Most significantly, the book interrogates the ways in which Wagner uses Greek aesthetics to further his own ideological goals.
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action Adorno Aeschylus Aesthetics Alberich ancient Aristophanes Art and Revolution Art-Work artistic Athenian tragedy Athens audience Bayreuth blood Bru¨nnhilde characters chorus claims classical comedy corrupt Cosima Cosima’s Diaries culture Dahlhaus Das Rheingold Deathridge divine dragon dramatist Droysen essay ethical order Fafner final Freia French Friedrich Friedrich Nietzsche genre German Gibichung Go¨tterda¨mmerung gods Greek epic Greek tragedy Hagen Hegel Hellenization hero Hesiod Homer human Ibid Iliad individual influence John Deathridge kind leitmotifs libretto lyric poet Millington and Spencer Mime modern motif Mu¨ller music drama myth narrative national identity nature Nibelung Nibelungenlied Nietzsche Nietzsche’s Odysseus one’s Opera and Drama orchestra orchestral narrator Orpheus parody personal identity perspective philosophy Pindar poetic poetry political Rheingold Rhinedaughters Richard Wagner Ring cycle Ring’s scholars seems sense Siegfried Siegfried’s Siegmund Stabreim stage symbolic theater theogony theoretical theory tragic trans understand University Press Valhalla Volk Wagner knew Wagner’s Ring Wagnerian Walku¨re Wotan