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Wagner Siegfried

Wagner Siegfried

Details

  • Dates: March 30, 2019
  • Location: Central Theater
  • Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Price: $20 w/Student ID

What of the title character himself; how does Siegfried reflect transition and transformation?  To understand this, we need to explore who this character is and how he developed as the Ring composition progressed.  As previously noted, the legendary tragedy of Siegfried’s death was the original impetus for the composer to launch the Ring project.  Indeed, at the prose sketch initial stage of gestation , Wagner’s intent was to write only a single work entitled Siegfried’s Tod (Siegfried’s Death), which was renamed eventually to its present title, The Twilight of the Gods, or, as it is known in German,  Götterdämmerung.  He soon recognized that in order to place that storyline in context, he had to also tell the tale of the hero’s younger days, and thus the music drama known today simply as Siegfried (originally, Der Junge Siegfried) was born.  As Wagner’s embrace of his ancient source material evolved and his world view changed from one driven primarily by the philosophies of Ludwig Feuerbach to those of Arnold Schopenhauer, his understanding of Siegfried’s position in the world of the Sagas and the relevance of these legends for his own day underwent a metamorphosis, and the result was the addition of Die Walküre and finally Das Rheingold to the Cycle.  Although the texts were created in reverse order, the composition of the Ring progressed in order from Rheingold on, and along the way, further refinements in the text were made as the significance of character dynamics clarified in line with Wagner’s evolving world view.  No character in the Cycle was as profoundly affected as Siegfried over this evolutionary creative process for the Ring which, all together, totaled 26 years (1848 – 1874).

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