Richard Wagner: “Der Ring des Nibelungen”

Sessions:  5  Class Time:  10:00am-12:00pm

WEDNESDAY—2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20  Class Limit: 20  Member $50/ Non-Member $75

Water maidens, gnomes, giants, snakes, a dragon, gods, humans, a gold ring, a helmet with magical transformative powers, a sword with superhuman power, a castle in the sky – all are part of Wagner’s fifteen hour, four opera (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung), opus magnum.  What, if anything, does all of this mean?  Wagner, highly literate, was familiar with Western/Eastern literature and philosophies, Nordic/Celtic myths/legends and fairy tales and although preceding Freud, he had keen insights into the psychology of humans.  From this vast base of knowledge, he fashioned a unique cycle of operas addressing power, greed, envy, love, loss, deception and redemption.  The course will explore:  pertinent aspects of Wagner’s life and contemporary historical events; philosophical/psychological underpinnings of the cycle; myths/legends/fairy tales employed; musical style; and various interpretations of the cycle.  The course is being offered prior to the Metropolitan Opera’s HD transmission on March 30 of “Die Walkure”, the second opera of the cycle. Prior to the first class, please read the MET Opera synopses of the four operas available on the internet.

Louis Mainelli has taught opera classes on Poulenc, Tchaikovsky, and  Wagner at the URI and UMASS-Boston OLLI programs as well at the Edward King House and Salve Regina “Circle of Scholars” programs.