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Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner
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Which characters do you find the most interesting?
And why?
Thanks
 

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Definitely Wotan; we see the turbulence and conflict within him boil over in Act II of Die Walküre and see his own development over three generations. He is a god, but he is more human than he might seem.

I would also suggest Hans Sachs as a contender, as we see multiple sides of him which leaves us with a more complex set of ideas about him.
 

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Wotan is a rather obvious choice, I agree also with Hans Sachs who is one of the few humanly human characters. The split-personality Kundry is probably too odd without some Jungian or other depth psychology.
Others seem to have their tensions resolved in ways we would not accept in a realist novel. E.g. Tristan and Isolde. Tristan killed her fiancé, she nursed him back to health as Tantris and they fell in love. But now she seems more angry about him only acting as an intermediate for Marke than about the old deception (and Morold). Then the potion restores/reveals the passion of the earlier episode
I recall a discussion years ago at a SF/fantasy forum where someone made the distinction between character-driven, plot-driven and idea-driven SF/fantasy books/sagas (or at least that's how I recall it, it's probably not exhaustive, I could imagine atmosphere or world driven as another aspect). Most literature has a mix of them but it seems fair to say that a lot of Wagner is idea-driven and that implies some strange, not terribly realistic/rounded characters. I.e. there are lots of ideas about the conflicts of power, passion, redemption etc. that are brilliantly driving these operas but the characters are more conduits for these ideas and dramatic emotions.
 

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Loge. Cunning, highly intelligent and the architect behind everyone’s misfortunes given that he ostensibly misled Wotan regarding paying off Fasolt and Fafner and we all know how that ended!:D
 

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None. It's opera; the most important thing to me is that the piece in question is conducted and sung well. If thoughtful characterization is what I am after, I'll pick up a good book.
 

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Bernd Alois Zimmermann
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Sixtus Beckmesser - often dismissed as merely an anti-Semitic stereotype (the greedy, conniving, ingratiating Jew) , truth be told Beckmesser is one of the most three dimensional and relatable human characters that Wagner ever created. Like Judas, he is not a god or a myth, but an ordinary man trying to do extraordinary things, by whatever means necessary...
 

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Some of Wagner's characters are among the most striking in opera, but few of them seem like people we could actually meet. Kreisler jr in post #3 describes Wagner's "idea-driven" dramaturgy well. On an emotional level, I often feel that his characters are caught up and swept along by forces larger and more powerful than they are, like the Dutchman's ship forced to ride the waves until he finds redemption in love, or the vessel that bears the unwilling Isolde to Cornwall. In the case of Tristan and Isolde this is actually the essence of their story in the most concentrated form, with the lovers expressing the desire to lose their personal identities in union with each other and with the "Welt-Atems wehendem All" that Isolde reaches at the end, at least in her own mind.

I suppose I don't really have a favorite character, but I think Kundry, whom Leonie Rysanek said contains "all women," may be the most fascinating creation in all of opera.
 

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Probably Loge for me, too - I've found tricksters, shapeshifters etc. tend to be more interesting than most mythological characters.
 

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I think Kundry is his most complex and interesting character. She is distilled from several characters from religious and historical lore.

I regard the Kundry-Parsifal scene in Act 2 as one of the most incredible miracles of art. Wagner's Sistine Chapel.
 

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Bernd Alois Zimmermann
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Hagen is another human, all too human Wagnerian persona that I absolutely adore.

The influence of Machiavelli and Shakespeare is clear here and Hagen seems to me to be a synergy of the scheming, duplicitous Iago and the portentous, tautological Polonius.

Francis Urquhart, eat your heart out… ❤
 

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Hans Sachs - because of his humanity he exhibits as well as the personal growth of his character throughout the opera and reflected in the microcosm of the Wahn monologue. The most sympathetic character in Wagner for me.

Loge also gets a vote for importance beyond superficial appearances - he is certainly not a well-developed character in the narrative but central to the entire Ring plot behind the scenes.
 

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Loge is not really a character. I have seen the comment that he is more an elemental spirit than a "god" and he certainly fades into that rôle after Rheingold.
One might also think that in Rheingold Loge is partly an "externalisation" of Wotan's subconscious, like Brunnhilde in Die Walküre. Wotan kidded himself with Loge's help that he could get out of the bargain with the Giants without problems. Similarly, Loge is then needed as sidekick to deceive Alberich, not because Wotan wouldn't be sufficiently smart and ruthless but because as Lord of contracts, he cannot do it directly himself.
A bit like the potion in Tristan & Isolde that "only" makes the real desire explicit, it obviously does'nt creat the passion.
 

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Loge is not really a character. I have seen the comment that he is more an elemental spirit than a "god" and he certainly fades into that rôle after Rheingold.
One might also think that in Rheingold Loge is partly an "externalisation" of Wotan's subconscious, like Brunnhilde in Die Walküre. Wotan kidded himself with Loge's help that he could get out of the bargain with the Giants without problems. Similarly, Loge is then needed as sidekick to deceive Alberich, not because Wotan wouldn't be sufficiently smart and ruthless but because as Lord of contracts, he cannot do it directly himself.
A bit like the potion in Tristan & Isolde that "only" makes the real desire explicit, it obviously does'nt creat the passion.
I'd say that Loge is neither more nor less a personage than most of Wagner's characters, the cast of Meistersinger being a deliberate exception. Characters functioning as aspects of each other's psyche, rather than as separate, rounded individuals, is a basic part of Wagner's unique, mythopoeic dramatic method, beginning with Vanderdecken in Der Fliegende Hollander. By the time we get to Parsifal, we have a dream world in which there are no real people at all but a single overarching psyche of which all the characters are mutually influential functions. What's always amazed me is Wagner's ability to make these symbolic beings seem real in their own terms, emotionally potent, engaging, and memorable.
 
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