Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre

By Simon Williams | Go to book overview

the same time served as effective metaphors for the violent forces unleashed in the drama. More simply, when the Gibichungs gathered to welcome Brünnhilde and Gunther to their hall, they were not primitive tribesmen in skins but top-hatted shareholders carrying rifles, anticipating a strike in the factory. In the same scene, Hagen flourishing his spear, as an allusion to more traditional presentations of The Ring, acquired a menacing and disquieting presence. Above all, the certainty of the direction, the accuracy with which each line was delivered and conveyed with corresponding facial and bodily movements, enabled one to follow the action with the closeness normally associated with the spoken rather than the musical theatre. The grand gestures of the nineteenth-century theatre, which result inevitably from the massive effort required to sing Wagner's music, appeared entirely natural expressions of the words and music. Consequently, the drama unfolded with an iron compulsion. For all the apparent divergence from the details of the original stage directions, the old master would have recognized in this production a cogent binding of poetry, music, gesture, and staging that was for him the essence of total theatre.


NOTES
1
Baudelaire as a Literary Critic, ed. & trans. Lois Boe and Francis E. Hyslop Jr. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1964), 192-193.
2
Herbert Lindenberger, Opera: The Extravagant Art ( Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), 285.
3
Mosco Carner, Puccini ( New York: Knopf, 1959), 159.
4
Raymond Furness, Wagner and Literature ( New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982), 22-23.
5
Michael P. Steinberg, The Meaning of the Salzburg Festival: Austria as Theater and Ideology, 1890-1938 ( Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 25-36.
6
Spike Hughes, Glyndebourne: A History of the Festival Opera ( Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1981), 28.
7
Sally Beauman, The Royal Shakespeare Company ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 8-67.
8
James W. Flannery, W. B. Yeats and the Idea of a Theatre ( Toronto: Macmillan, 1976), 102-109.
9
Richard Beacham, Adolphe Appia ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 89-97.
10
Penelope Turing, New Bayreuth ( St. Martin, Jersey, Channel Islands: Jersey Artists, 1969), 6.
11
Dietrich Mack, Theaterarbeit an Wagners Ring ( Munich: Piper, 1978), 28.

-161-

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Richard Wagner and Festival Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter 1 - The Fiery Conformist 1
  • Notes 17
  • Chapter 2 Bohemian in Paris 19
  • Notes 29
  • Chapter 3 - Kapellmeister in Dresden 31
  • Notes 52
  • Chapter 4 - Revolutionary in Exile 53
  • Notes 75
  • Chapter 5 - Romantic in Exile 77
  • Notes 90
  • Chapter 6 - The King's Friend 91
  • Notes 109
  • Chapter 7 - The Master of Bayreuth 111
  • Notes 131
  • Chapter 8 - The Dying Magus 133
  • Notes 145
  • Chapter 9 - Wagner's Theatrical Legacy 147
  • Notes 161
  • Chronology of Wagner's Life 163
  • Further Reading 171
  • Index 177
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