Ring Symposium III
Symposium III: Thursday, August 22
How do the spatial and temporal dimensions of Wagner’s Ring influence its performance, its legacy, and the audience’s experience?
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Dean at The American Academy in Berlin
“Spatial and Temporal Parameters: Developments in Production”
An examination of developments in production since Alfred Roller, Wieland Wagner, Patrice Chereau, Ruth Berghaus, Casper Holten, the Deconstructed Ring in Stuttgart and Götz Friedrich's Time-Tunnel Ring.
Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University
“IN the River Rhine?: the Cosmogony of Das Rheingold”
As the preliminary evening of Wagner’s tetralogy, Das Rheingold presents a mythic cosmogony outlining the origins of the Ring’s universe, which includes the four classical elements: air, earth, fire, and – most obviously – water. This apparently pure and originary world comes into being with a deceptive simplicity that obscures connections to underlying issues in nineteenth-century culture, ranging from controversies in geology to debates on the origin of language and the arts. It also comprises one extended “teaching moment,” re-enacting for the audience the emergence of language, music and dance, then proceeding to a lesson in Wagner’s musical language by staging the relationship between things and their musical motifs in the Rhine Daughters’ celebration of the gold. However, the stage history of the opera suggests that it is difficult to make these connections visually, with the result that productions often require creative manipulation of space (how to float the Rhine Daughters? etc.). Moreover, as a narrative that also traces the corruption and inevitable demise of this world, the opera also requires an increasingly complex understanding of textual and musical relationships. To take a prominent example: does the conclusion to Das Rheingold celebrate the gods’ triumphant entry into Valhalla, or is this moment itself already burdened by the music’s foreknowledge of the tragedy to come?
Lunchtime Q&A. (Lunch Purchase required)*.
Director of Opera and Professor of Music at UCLA
*Lunch must be purchased in advance. Ordering information will be included with your tickets in spring 2013.