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It's Easy Enough To Poke Fun At Wagner's Ring Cycle

   Wagner's mighty  four opera  epic "Der Ring Des Nibelungen " The Ring oif the Nibeling "  has come in for  lot of  satire  over the years since its  first  complete  performances  at  the historic  Wagner festival  in Bayreuth  Germany  in 1876 .  It has inspired  the  beloved  television crtoons with  Bugs Bunny  (I'll kill da wabbit sung the  the  theme of the Ride of the Valkyries ) and  the  antic  spoofs  of  the late  musical comedienne  Anna Russell  (1911 - 2006 )  ,to name only tow of the best known examples .

    Also ,  there are  stereotypical images of fat opera singers  dressed in  absurd pseudo Viking costumes  which have been used in so many television  commercials .  You can see Anna Russell's  Ring  satires on youtube in whiich she  whoops it up  imitating  fat Wagner sopranos and  jokes about the supposed absurdities of the Ring's  plot . 

    But is the Ring of the Nibelung  really silly , and proof of how  ridiculous opera plots supposedly are ?  Not at all if you  actually attend  performances of it  either in its  16 hour four day  complete form  or  one  opera at a time , listen to complete recordings or CD or  live perfomrances on DVD . 

     The Ring is no sillier than  such beloved  films  as Star Wars,  The Lord Of The Ring ,  or Hartry Potter .  You see, it's  a fantasy adventure based on German and Scandinavian   mythology  with a story  Wagner  fashioned out  of those ancient   Teutonic  legends .  The Ring is actually the granddaddy of   Star Wars , Lord of the Rings  and other  fantasy movies .  To complain that the Ring plot is  silly  is to miss the point altogether .  The Ring is a vast allegorical tale of  greed, lust for power and riches  ,  treachery , betrayal ,  love , hate , ruthless ambition  and how that  lust for power and riches destroys  everything  .  It  is set  in a mythical  Germany  among  Gods and Goddesses ,  giants, dwarves who live  deep oin the earth ,  water nixies ,  humans ,  superheroes  and the Valkyries, who are the warrior daughters of the supreme God Wotan  who  fly on magic horses .  There is a  fateful magical Ring forged from the stolen gold of the Rhine which  confers  magical powers on whoever possesses it  but which also has a fatal curse on it  .  Whoever possesses the Ring  has power over the entire world  .   The various characters  fight over the  fateful ring   throughout the  cycle with catastrophic end  results , the "Twilight of the Gods ". The  destruction of  the gods in their  castle  Valhalla  by fire and  where the  Rhine overfloows it banks  , destroying everything .  But this cataclysmic ending  comes with the hope that  a better world will  come  in its wake . 

     Sounds like a cool story, doesn't it  ? It is !   With today's  opera singers, who are for the most part  normal   looking  people who can act  well, the Ring  will not  seem  silly at all if you give it a chance .  Instead , you will experience  real people, even if they are Gods ,dwarves and superheroes ,  who are  complex and fascnating characters  struggling against  the consequences of their  greed , hate ,  ruthlessness , and  blind  foolishness , as well as others who  show great courage ,  selflessness ,  and love .  Combine this with Wagner's  sweeping ,  passionate ,  colorful  and  turbulent music  , and you have one of the greatest  works of music ever written . No womder the Ring has  captured the imagination of  people all over the world for well over  a century . 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted: Jun 24 2013, 10:47 PM by the horn | with no comments
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