Tutorial and Toolbox for
"The Ring of the Nibelung" Neophytes
Wagnerites are politely advised not to read the infectious non-orthodox
lines that follow.
an occasional classical music listener I assumed that this
music was overcomplicated, pretentious, noisy, perverse and
of Richard Wagner Nazi sung in German!
after happily living through 50 years of my life without ever
listening to the "Ring of the Nibelung" by German composer
Richard Wagner I got infected by
it and now I go on spreading this infection worldwide.
10 years ago I met professor Bruno Lussato
of Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers
of Paris, a man
of incredible erudition and very fine musician. While talking to
him I squeezed in a clever quote from Mark Twain:
"Wagner's music is so much better than it sounds!"
was immediately caught red-handed as someone pretentious who had
never heard the music, but had a learned opinion. I was laughed
at, told not to show off and sent back to school.
Lussato kindly lent me his film "In the Eye of the Ring" and
suggested that I should make further critical noises only
after having carefully viewed and listened to "The Ring of
viewed the film, understood the extremely intricate plot,
got interested, put my headphones on, opened the German libretto
and ...sat patiently for 3 hours listening to "The Rheingold"
directed by Herbert von Karajan
and reading the lines of Richard Wagner's poetry. That is
how I got the "Ring virus".
rest of my immunity collapsed after viewing film-opera "The Ring
of the Nibelung" by Chéreau.
is human nature put on music
Ring of the Nibelung" is a cycle of four non-traditional
operas: "Das Rheingold" (The Rhine Gold), "Die
Walküre" (The Valkyrie), "Siegfried"
& "Die Götterdämmerung" (Twilight
of the gods), with a total playing time of 15 hours. "The
Ring of the Nibelung" is the first myth of the industrial
is not an Opera, It is a prophecy
are many "Rings" available on CD. My favourite is "The Ring" conducted
by Herbert von Karajan. They say that
Karajan died hated by his musicians. "I'd rather scrub floors than
work with that man again!" exclaimed Josephine Veasey (Fricka) after
a recording session. When you listen to his "Ring" you'll hear and
understand why! He squeezed heavenly sounds from simple human beings
with sweat and tears as by-product. This unique performance is an
extemporal meeting of the greatest composer and the greatest conductor
of all times.
are many videos of "The Ring", but my choice is "The Ring"
by stage-director Patrice Chéreau.
This one is the closest to Richard Wagner's original stage
directions. In fact, after 125 years of performance Wagner's
stage directions have not been realized in full. Technically
impossible! Try singing underwater or ride flying horses!
Will computer-imaging help?
you know that :
injustice was done unto the great Richard Wagner. His own wife,
who modified his biography, misappropriated him posthumously. He
was nationalized by the German state, which turned Wagner into grey
concrete monument. The Nazis, who used his music to accompany Arian
Nordic fireworks, reprocessed him. He was privatised by most composers
of the XX century who prospected his enormous heritage as a quarry
of melodies (leitmotivs). Most stage directors have experimented,
disfigured and even fooled around with "The Ring of the Nibelung".
They are gone, while Wagner remains!
the Eye of the Ring", libretto, Headphones, CD player, CD
set by Karajan, DVD player, DVD
set by Chéreau. You
do not need high-end expensive hi-fi to start your personal
discovery of "The Ring" - a CD player is good enough. Find
time to listen to the music and read libretto carefully a
couple of times. Do it in one opera per day in 4-6 days timeframe
and you are converted for good.
Infected and ready to make another step? Looking to buy introduction VHS, "Ring" on DVD etc..?
Very good, but before damaging your family budget any further preview before buying.
The only place in the universe where you can do it is on this very site!
Richard Wagner bless you!