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Thread: Books on the Wagner Operas?

  1. #1
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    Default Books on the Wagner Operas?

    I've read and watched summary after summary after explanation after libretti of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' but with all that lore and mythology my eyes just glaze over.
    It was the same as a child when those period children's programmes at suppertime on a Saturday were on like Robin Hood, King Arthur, Beowulf or whatever they were, I'd just switch off. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter the same.

    I get 'Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg', 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' and to a lesser extent 'Tristan und Isolde' and 'Parsifal' but I struggle with the storylines.

    Any books to recommend on them?
    Either specifically about the werks or about what they are based on.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    What do you mean when you say that you struggle with storylines? If you're looking for a clear synopsis of the story of the Ring, you can just go to the Wikipedia article on each opera, or to the libretto booklets that come with recordings. The literature on what it all means is vast, but you certainly need to know the events of the plot, and it seems to me that the best foundation for further exploration is simply to listen to the operas with libretto in hand. If your eyes glaze over while you're doing that, I'd suspect you may just not care for the works, any more than you were taken with Robin Hood, King Arthur, or Beowulf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I'd suspect you may just not care for the works, any more than you were taken with Robin Hood, King Arthur, or Beowulf.

    I absolutely love them. I just think I would absolutely love them even more and would get more out of the experience by knowing more about them.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    The Complete Operas of Wagner by Charles Osborne (probably out of print, but still available)



    Also, this graphic novel version of Der Ring is the best I've found for getting into it as a novice.

    The Ring of Nibelung (get the paperback, not the Kindle)
    by P. Craig Russel

    Last edited by SanAntone; Sep-15-2021 at 03:38.

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    Might I suggest the book Wagner Without Fear by Met commentator William Berger? Will does a great job of explaining things and he's very insightful.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Wagner’s Ring operas are based on Norse mythology, and he made up parts of the stories. One of the books, or stories, is Kriemhild’s Revenge, in which some of the events resemble parts of Götterdammerung. If you look up Norse Mythology you may find other stories that form part of what Wagner put together for his libretti.

    There’s a great one called Nibelungenlied.

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    Thanks,
    Is Scruton's 'The Ring of Truth' good?

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankE View Post
    Thanks,
    Is Scruton's 'The Ring of Truth' good?
    I don’t know most of the books on Der Ring Des Nibelungen - I have not explored the meanings that some people find in that work. I just love it and take it at face value.

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