Ring resources

March 8, 2010

Those who have been following my “Great moments in opera” posts recently will know that I have been working my way through Wagner’s operas, and might have guessed where I was heading: the Ring cycle.  Yes, it’s true.  Over the next month or so, I hope to listen to the entire cycle again.  I have only heard it once before, and that was now over five years ago, so the time seems ripe to revisit it.

The Ring is so big and convoluted, and so musically complex, that I am fortifying myself with a number of canes and crutches to help me through.  So far I have assembled the following:

I know that huge barrels of ink have been spilled over these operas, and it is a fool’s errand to try to read too much of it.  If anyone knows, however, of a particularly good book on the topic, I ‘d be interested to hear about it in the comments.  Thanks.

3 Responses to “Ring resources”

  1. Christina A. Says:

    You could also read the Volsungssaga or the Niebelungenlied if you haven’t already done so. They are the foundational myths/legends for the opera

  2. Site Administrator Says:

    I’ll be following this with interest. I navigated the Ring a few years ago and although I found it interesting I was never swept away by it, except for the odd moment here and there. But I sorta got off to a bad start. I’ll go back to it one day but probably not for a while yet, for sheer lack of time.

  3. cburrell Says:

    I know that I should read the Nibelungenlied, Christina, and I hope to do so one day. I think I should read the Icelandic Edda as well, as I heard that it also contains early versions of these stories. Tolkien thought that those stories should be to us what the stories about Troy were to the Greeks. That strikes me as a bit idiosyncratic of him.

    I read that Wagner himself did not work from those early sources. I forget where I read that.

    Well, Site Administrator, that’s a pretty imposing new appellation you’ve deployed. Just don’t try to administer this site. 8) For what it is worth, I also once tried watching the Boulez DVDs, and I simply could not get through them. I think I got through Das Rheingold and that was it. As I said, I am going to try Levine this time.


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