The Kennedy Center

Lecture Series II: Introduction to The Ring: The Ring Cycle: Exposition and Lyrical Expansion

Lecture Series II - Introduction to the Ring: The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie--Exposition and Lyrical Expansion

Monday, May 9, 2016 7:00 PM

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Musicologist Saul Lilienstein takes us into the first two operas of the Ring: The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie.

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The Cycle begins, the world begins. Musicologist Saul Lilienstein takes us into the first two operas of the Ring. In The Rhinegold, we are introduced to a group of supernatural creatures who are as normal, or as strange, as one's next-door neighbors; yearning for love, vying for power, committing sins, seeking absolution. Each character is etched indelibly in orchestral color and the thread of melodic motifs. The Valkyrie shows us the human side of this equation as Wagner imagines four of the greatest characters in all of opera and clothes them in magnificent music: Sieglinde, a young woman abused; Siegmund, a young man who sets her free--yet theirs is a forbidden, incestuous love. The great God Wotan needs these two but is powerless to help them. His own daughter Brünnhilde is the only one who can, but he puts her to sleep with the ravishing music of a magic fire.

Lecture Timing: 90 minutes, with no intermission