Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks by M. Owen Lee

By M. Owen Lee

Richard Wagner's wisdom of and keenness for Greek drama used to be so profound that for Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner used to be Aeschylus come alive back. unusually little has been written in regards to the pervasive impression of classical Greece at the quintessentially German grasp. during this based and masterfully argued booklet, well known opera critic Father Owen Lee describes for the modern reader what it could possibly were prefer to witness a dramatic functionality of Aeschylus within the theatre of Dionysus in Athens within the 5th century B.C. - whatever that Wagner himself undertook to do on numerous events, imagining a functionality of The Oresteia in his brain, examining it aloud to his acquaintances, offering his personal remark, and concerning the Greek vintage drama to his personal romantic view.

Father Lee additionally makes use of Wagner's writings on Greece and entries from his wife's diaries to solid new mild on Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal, and particularly the amazing Ring cycle, the place Wagner made vast use of Greek components to provide structural team spirit and dramatic credibility to his Nordic and Germanic myths. No opera fan, argues Father Lee, can relatively comprehend Wagner saving Brünhilde with out figuring out the Athena who, in Greek drama, first introduced justice to Athens.

Written with a readability and intensity of data that experience characterised all Father Lee's books at the classics of Greece and Rome and made his six different volumes of opera bestsellers, Athena Sings strains the profound effect - a power few song fanatics are conscious of - that Greek theatre and tradition had at the so much German of composers and his innovative musical dramas.

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The tapestry is taken up and gathered within, and the doors of the skene close. 18 Cassandra breaks a long silence,19 steps from the chariot, and cries out: Apollon! Apollon! She begins to rave under the influence of the god who gave her the gift of prophecy. She dances wildly around the orchestra, seeing in a vision all of the crimes committed in this royal house in the past. Then, dancing in wider circles and singing in a higher register, she describes what is happening in the house now: To bathe bright with water ...

That is going beyond Aeschylus, continuing his theological view. But, as we shall see, it fits with his work. ' That is the question pondered by the great choral ode that begins the Agamemnon, and it is central too to Wagner's Ring, with its dying father god and its divine dynasty marked for 32 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks extinction. Small wonder that Wagner was thrilled by this opening chorus. It gave him the evolutionary ending he needed for his own magnum opus and a way to ponder, and suggest an answer for, one of mankind's great questions.

She is the closest Greek myth came to a second person of the Trinity - the Logos, the father god's thought, his word sent to do his 40 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks will - and she is female. Wagner, centuries later, was to make her the Brunnhilde of his Ring cycle. 24 Athena in this final scene effects a kind of New Testament between god and man. The old gods punished blood with blood. Now her father Zeus will bring, through her, after a series of terrible happenings, a new concept of justice.

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