Inside the Ring

Essays on Wagner’s Opera Cycle


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About the Book

Once tainted by association with Hitler and Nazism, Richard Wagner’s work has experienced an international cultural renaissance in the last 25 years. His magnum opus, Der Ring des Nibelungen, which took him over 20 years to finish, is a complex tale with themes of greed, corruption and loss, spun out in more than 16 hours of powerfully moving opera. This book, with provocative essays for both the uninitiated and the seasoned fan, examines Wagner’s Ring cycle from a wide array of modern perspectives.
Divided into six parts, this anthology first offers a foundation for the Ring, with a chronology and an introduction, along with a look at Wagner as an enterprising marketer. Part Two explores different interpretations of the Ring, with reference to politics, romanticism and international inspirations. Part Three studies the complex relationship between Wagner’s Ring and Germany, with a summary of the opera’s influence on German culture and a discussion of its Munich premiere. Part Four offers a production history, including studies of the Ring’s effects in America and its influence on world literature. Part Five provides a technical examination of language in the Ring, as well as an interview with the famous Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen. The book concludes with an essay on the trouble with Wagnerian opera and an overview of the recorded Ring on disc, video and print.

About the Author(s)

John Louis DiGaetani, an English professor at Hofstra University, is the author of numerous books about opera and theater.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by John Louis DiGaetani
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2330-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8246-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      xi
A Ring Chronology      xv

Introduction: The Cycles in the Cycle      1

I. The Foundation
1. The Golden Ring in a Golden Age      33
2. Selling the Ring: Richard Wagner’s “Enterprise”      51

II. Interpretations
3. Gold Rules: The Politics of Wagner’s Ring      69
4. Romanticism in the Ring      95
5. The Ring: An Italian Dream Set in Switzerland      125

III. The Ring and Germany
6. Wagner’s Ring and German Culture: Performances and Interpretations On and Off Stage      133
7. Wagner’s Ring Premiere in Munich      151
8. Transgression and Taboo: Eros, Marriage, and Incest in Die Walküre      163

IV. Production and Influence of the Ring
9. A Select Production History of the Ring      173
10. The Ring in America      189
11. Wagnerian Opera’s Influence on World Literature      205

V. The Language and Music of the Ring
12. The Language of the Ring      213
13. An Interview with Jane Eaglen      223

VI. Conclusion
14. The Trouble with Wagner      227
15. The Ring on Disc and on Video      229

About the Contributors      249
Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

“I can aver that I found much to enjoy and learn here. For instance, the interview with Eaglen alone is worth the price of the book…Inside the Ring contains many nuggets of gold, not the least of which is the bibliography, which lists audio and video resources, books, librettos, and music—Wagner Notes.