Der Ring des Nibelungen: Composition of the poem

Der Ring Des Nibelungen: Composition Of The Poem

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Composition of the poem

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The evolution of Richard Wagner's operatic tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung was a long and tortuous process, and the precise sequence of events which led the composer to embark upon such a vast undertaking is still unclear. The composition of the text took place between 1848 and 1853, when all four libretti were privately printed; but the closing scene of the final opera, Götterdämmerung, was revised a number of times between 1856 and 1872. The names of the last two Ring operas, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, were probably not definitively settled until 1856.

Conception of the Ring

According to the composer's own account – as related in his autobiography Mein Leben – it was after the February Revolution that he began to sketch a play on the life of the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa. While researching this work he came to see Friedrich as "a historical rebirth of the old, pagan Siegfried".A Communication to My Friends (Sämtliche Schriften und Dichtungen, vol. IV, p. 359). Then, in the summer of 1848, he wrote the essay Die Wibelungen: Weltgeschichte aus der Saga (The Wibelungs: World History as Told in Saga), in which he noted some historical links (spurious, as it happens) between the Hohenstaufens and the legendary Nibelungs.See Guelphs and Ghibellines for the association of the term Waiblingen with the Hohenstaufens. This led him...
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