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Richard Wagner 1850-1880

Developments in Opera

A towering visionary and cult figure-reviled by some, worshipped by others - Wagner revolutionizes Western art.

His lengthy operas combine mythology, psychosexual undertones, spirituality, and overwhelmingly emotional music.

He composes music that grows organically and doesn't distinguish between arias, duets, and ensembles.

The Masterworks

Tristan and Isolde:
The tale of frustrated lovers who achieve the ultimate union by dying for love. Arguably the most important opera ever written, Wagner's masterpiece paved the way for modern art.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Master Singers of Nuremberg): In the process of recounting a love story, Wagner's only comedy manages to illustrate art's need for new ideas and respect for older values. Its shoemaker Hans Sachs is one of opera's wisest and best-loved characters.

The Ring of the Nibelung: The Ring is a mythic, four-opera saga about a world of gods, dwarves, giants, dragons, and everyday humans all fighting for possession of a magic golden ring. Its operas (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and GötterdŠmmerung) can total over 16 hours in length.

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Photo Credit

Das Rheingold, 2005 © Rozarii Lynch photo