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Lecture

Wagner, The Valkyrie, Act III (Wotan's Farewell).pdf

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Department
Music
Course
MUSIC 1AA3
Professor
Matthew Woolhouse
Semester
Winter

Description
Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883, age 69) • German, born in Leipzig (where Bach worked) • He was controversial guy, socially and politically ◦ Antisemitic writings, but had Jewish friends in private ◦ Left-wing radical, involved in uprising in 1849, fled to Switzerland where he chilled for 10 years • He was poor, but in 1864 King Ludwig II of Bavaria gave him some cash (he really liked Wagner's music) • 1876 built large opera house (Festspielhaus) just for his operas in Beyreuth (Bavaria) • Married twice, 2nd wife was Cosima Liszt (3 children before married in 1870), daughter of Franz Liszt and Marie d'Agoult • He traveled all around to avoid paying debts (Riga, Paris, Dresden, Zurich, Bayrouth, Venice) • He was a G Ring of the Nibelungs • Comprised of 4 operas ◦ The Rhine Gold (1869) ◦ The Valkyrie (1870) ◦ Siegfried (1876) ◦ Twilight of the Gods (1878) • Libretti by Wagner, based on old Germanic legend (he was cocky, so libretted from himself) ◦ Nibelungs: ancient royal family. Folllows struggles of gods/heroes fighting over a magical Ring that grants domination. Drama and intrigue continue through 3 generations of protagonists, until ring is returned to Rhine and gods are consumed by fire • Monumental work - over 15 hours (like the Lord of the Rings!) • Took several decades to complete Lord of the Rings • lots of parallels between Ring of the Nibelung and LOTR • ring holds great power but power corrupts • giants, dragons etc and a shattered sword recast into a more powerful one • both cycles begin in a state of innocence th
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