Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung Or Das Ring Des Nibelungen,

A whole bunch of people have written about Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelung,” (or Der Ring des Nibelungen, as Germans say), including G.B. Shaw and Leo Tolstoy. Shaw put together a pretty detailed account. Only, you see, he got carried away with allegories and stuff, which, he claimed, he had discovered in those four operas. Tolstoy – well, we all know what kind of writer Tolstoy was. It’s, like, a hundred pages of explaining why Der Ring des Nibelungen is poo, followed by a quick (one page long) overview of the plot. That’s wonderful, though not, in my opinion, particularly smart.

You have to listen to a whole bunch of operas and symphonic music before you put your knowledge and taste to the test by attending the Ring Cycle, as they call it (all four operas given on four consecutive days or nights). There are a few boring spots in those four operas, when Wagner (the composer) follows a music theory of his own device instead of his inspiration. I’ll bet he himself thought those spots were boring. He was stubborn, though. He figured, okay, maybe they’re boring, but they’re still necessary, etc. Whatever.

There are entire scenes in the “Ring of the Nibelung” (or Der Ring des Nibelungen, as some snobs would call it even in this country) you could just toss out without diminishing the overall effect. You shouldn’t do that, though, since harmony is a gentle thing and gets shattered easily. Only the author really knows how things in his opus are linked up to one another. Those tedious scenes might contain invisible links we’re not aware of.

Well, anyway, this series is my attempt to familiarize my readers with the actual plot, I mean, the story … I mean, give my readers an idea about the “Ring” (or Der Ring des Nibelungen, as Wagner himself called it, being a German and all). Like, what it’s all about. Okay. Stay tuned.


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