|Richard Wagner's the Ring of Nibelung|
|Thursday, 01 January 2009 00:00|
Richard Wagner took 25 years (1848-1874) to complete what he called his master artwork of the future: THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG (Rhinegold, Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight).
After writing a full prose sketch of the main narrative in 1848, Wagner first wrote the poetry for the tragedy of Siegfried's Death (Gotterdammerung in its final form) with extensive exposition explaining the mythical past. He soon came to realize that he needed to present the events leading up to Siegfried's death in more detail and in dramatic form, that is, acted in full on stage rather than as narration. So next he added a "prequel" Young Siegfried, then eventually wrote the text to Rhinegold and Valkyrie to complete the four-part cycle.
In the Volsunga Saga, Siegmund (who is not Odin's son in the original) obtains his sword from the tree, mates with Signy his sister unknowingly (she's in disguise), and kills her cruel husband but she dies with her husband in a fire. By another wife, Siegmund has Sigurd (Siegfried). Siegmund is killed in battle when Odin smashes his sword (but not as punishment for incest). Sigurd is brought up at the court of Denmark, with Regin (Fafner's brother) as ward (story of the dragon slayer).
At this point Norse and Germanic versions diverge: Wagner follows Volsunga Saga more closely, concerning Sigurd's discovery of Brünnhilde in the ring of fire, his falling in love with Kriemhild (Gutrune) by the magic potion, and his death except Sigurd is killed in bed by Hogni (Hagen), not during the forest hunt.
In the Nibelungenlied, Siegfried (called Sivrit) is a prince, son of Siegmund and Sieglinde, king and queen of Netherland, who grows up in a palace, marries Gutrune before meeting Brünnhilde (Prunhilt), an Icelandic queen whom he wins in an athletic contest for Gunther (Wagner rejected the medieval chivalry of this account and only borrowed details of Siegfried's death during the hunt from this version).
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 September 2009 18:53 )|