Richard Wagner continues to be the most controversial artist in history, a perpetually troubling figure in our cultural consciousness. The unceasing debate over his works and their impact--for and against--is one reason why there has been no genuinely comprehensive modern account of his musical dramas until now. Dieter Borchmeyer's book is the first to present an overall picture of these musical dramas from the standpoint of literary and theatrical history. It extends from the composer's early works--still largely ignored--to the "Ring Cycle and Parsifal," and includes Wagner's unfinished works and operas he never set to music. Through lively prose, we come to see Wagner as a librettist--and as a man of letters--rather than primarily as musical composer.
Borchmeyer uncovers a vast field of cultural and historical cross-references in Wagner's works. In the first part of the book, he sets out in search of the various archetypal scenes, opening up the composer's dramatic workshop to the reader. He covers all of Wagner's operas, from early juvenilia to the canonical later works.
The second part examines Wagner in relation to political figures including King Ludwig II and Bismarck, and, importantly, in light of critical reactions by literary giants--Thomas Mann, whom Borchmeyer calls "a guiding light in this exploration of the fields that Wagner tilled," and Nietzsche, whose appeal to "philology" is a key source of inspiration in attempts to grapple with Wagner's works.
For more than twenty years, Borchmeyer has placed his scholarship at the service of the famed Bayreuth Festival. With this volume, he gives us a summation of decades of engagement with the phenomenon of Wagner and, at the same time, the result of an abiding critical passion for his works.
"Borchmeyer ... program annotator for the Bayreuth Festival where Wagner's music dramas are famously showcased each year, considers the whole range of those works--characters, themes, literary sources, political and ideological contexts--in a straightforward yet exhaustively researched and well documented manner."--Symphony "Dieter Borchmeyer provides unique insights into the Wagnerian outlook and purpose, insights not likely encountered elsewhere."--Clifford D. Alper, Opera Journal
|Love's Madness, Fairy-Tale Enchantment, and a Sicilian Carnival||p. 1|
|On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for the Music Drama-Grand Opera Die hohe Braut Rienzi and Their Consequences||p. 29|
|The Transformations of Ahasuerus: The Flying Dutchman and His Metamorphoses||p. 79|
|Venus in Exile: Tannhuuml;user between Romanticism and Young Germany||p. 101|
|Lohengrin: The Mythical Palimpsest of Wagner's Last Romantic Opera||p. 147|
|Love and Objectification in the Music Drama: Tristan's Isolde and Her Sisters||p. 157|
|Nuremberg as an Aesthetic State: Die Meistersinger, an Image and Counterimage of History||p. 180|
|The Myth of the Beginning and End of History: Der Ring des Nibelungen||p. 212|
|Redemption and Apocatastasis: Parsifal and the Religion of the Late Wagner||p. 238|
|An Encounter between Two Anomalies||p. 261|
|Wagner and Bismarck: An Epoch-Making Nonrelationship||p. 279|
|Two-Faced Passion: Nietzsche's Critique of Wagner||p. 288|
|Parallel Action: Thomas Mann's Response to Wagner||p. 308|
|The Disinherited Heir to the Throne Franz Wilhelm Beidler Wagner's "Lost Grandson"-a Postlude||p. 329|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 10th November 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2 x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.77