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Richard Wagner and “The ring of Nibelung”.


Well-known German composer Richard Wagner has devoted his creativity to a musical-scenic embodiment of the German mythology and medieval legends. At the end of 19 centuries he has managed (on donations) to construct the theatre, becoming the centers of the well-known opera festivals in small town Bayreuth (Bavaria). The building has been built in such a manner that at the maximal economy of means for beauty of architecture and an interior, the best acoustics (at those times) has been provided. For example, the orchestra pit is in a deepening under a stage.

At theatre Wagner's operas (and it is extreme in the summer) were put exclusively. For these seasons gathered from all Germany and Europe. It self Bayreuth appeared it is inextricably related with creativity of the great composer. Streets of city carry names of heroes of operas: Nibelungs, Siegfried, Tristan, etc.

About influence of creativity of Wagner on Russian culture we shall talk another time. It is necessary to tell only, that tragic events of 20 centuries have changed current of world history.

Long post-war years the tradition Wagner’s festivals glimmered in Bayreuth, stored by descendants of the German composer. Gradually, the gloom of the past dissipated, and International Wagner’s union has developed the wide program of encouragement of young talented musicians, singers, artists, critics. They received an opportunity of visiting Bayreuth festivals. The program has captured also Moscow, Petersburg, Kiev... I have visited Bayreuth also.

That time, on a stage of theatre have gone “Tristan und Isolde”, “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg”, “Lohengrin”. I not the expert in the field of musical culture therefore have addressed to incomparable to more competent people. Their opinion is those: the orchestra is very good, dramatic art too, and here voices of singers “are swinging”.

I has interested in scenery to performances also. In this respect, "Tristan" and "Lohengrin" have made depressing impression. In the first case the transparent curtain before a stage on which light patches of light and a stain of abstract kind (lines, pieces, elementary geometrical figures) were projected has been used. Scenery of a stage was so conditional also. But here was though any logic (the artist-director was the representative modern ‘the left art’).

"Lohengrin" it has been solved within the framework of a graphic aesthetics of a postmodern (that is absence those). In suits there was a mixture of styles. The German Middle Ages, the military form of Kaiser Army... Ortruna in a ladies' suit of the end of 19 centuries and malicious knight Telramund in an overcoat of a sample of the Second World War - all has mixed up. The significant part of actions occurs on a table reminding tennis (and around of it). Above There is the huge orange sun which children like to draw in a corner of a picture. Telramund has shaved after exposures. In general as one my German friend has told: "It any more avant-gardism, and nihilism".

However, scenery “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” has made favorable impression. Probably, it is connected by that producer of this statement was Wolfgang Wagner keeper Bayreuth. She has been sustained in rather realistic key, in gentle, pastel tones rich on colour.

Now about statements in Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg (Russia). Gergiev sensitively responds to tectonic shifts in world culture. Richard Wagner's "Parsifal" operas, "Lohengrin", “Der fliegende Hollander" (Flying Dutchman)” and others have appeared and have taken the important place in repertoire of theatre.

The first if I am not mistaken has been put "Parsifal". I did not manage to look it, but all of us saw photos of scenery. The artist-director Palmer (USA) who, besides, has enclosed the fair sum in performance was. It has decided to carry out statement ‘in Russian style’. Scenery, basically, represented the increased images of icons. Malicious magician Klingzor Palmer wished to see like Ivan Groznyy (nevertheless, the artist answering for suits, it was possible to bring in Gothic spirit to statement of this Gothic opera of Wagner written on a plot of Gothic novel.

Somebody to me that one of modern European statements "Parsifal" in attempt of temptation of the hero solved a stage of attempt as follows: the pure knight enters the magic garden of pleasures consisting of monitors, one of which close up shows lips of the woman, other its breast, etc... It would Seem, an antipode of statement of Palmer, and, as a matter of fact, the same.

And here I on Friday have looked “Gotterdammerung” (Twilight of the Gods) in Saint Petersburg. Impressions: music as is good, as well as in Bayreuth, sing, perhaps, better, actor's skill is weaker. Has liked Brunhild though the moment when Siegfried has gone on it with big fork looked comically.

The second female heroine - competitor Brunhild Gutruna was not too expressive. Valery Stenkina is good performer of demonic roles (Manon Lescaut, Kundri). But, unfortunately, image Gutruna, so significant in "Edda" and epos “Nibelungs”, at Wagner has not received adequate reflection. And the suit was not too successful.

Here again we smoothly pass to graphic aspect of statement. Scenery has been submitted with grey rude figures of giants and dwarfs, and some "roof" with hatches which that rose fell (is recollected Bayreuth "Lohengrin" and the table for ping-pong). In general, not fine. To tell the truth, illumination varied skillfully enough.

Attires of heroes, as a whole, are quite good. Costume designer Tatyana Noginova tried to show certain ‘eternity’ of plot. Somewhere it was possible to it. Prophetic Nornir, with their gray-haired antiquity, are successful. Brunhild reminds "Valkyrie, bringing a horn to the hero in Valhalla " with runic stones. Troops of Burgundians like ancient Persians (though elements of a snake ornament of Vikings here and there are guessed). In an image of Hagen features of decadence (something from Beardsley stylistics) are visible.

Here it is necessary to tell about aesthetic and conceptual views of the composer. Richard Wagner was not simply "musician" its creativity represented the scale cultural phenomenon. The German musical genius has acted against brilliant, but the superficial approach Giuseppe Verdi (in "Aide" not enough ancient Egypt - though she has been written to opening Suez canal; and in "Navuhodonosor" and that it is less than ancient Babylon).

Wagner itself wrote the libretto of the operas, thus thoroughly being based on northern legends. And, it is necessary to tell, it has remained is true not only to their letter, but also spirit. Certainly, the composer has subjected a material to the certain processing. Having taken for a basis of “Der Ring des Nibelungen” Scandinavian “Edda”, it has replaced names of heroes with names medieval German "Nibelungs". It has been quite allowable - in fact both texts occur from one source. "Edda" is densely sated with a mythological fantasy, road Wagner's to heart (and not only it). But it was necessary to create the German opera.

There are also more creative changes connected, in particular, with adaptation of a material to philosophy of the Modernist style and Neo-romanticism, rather successfully made by Wagner. Actually, the composer has deformed nothing, and has simply revealed new senses in the Myth.

What ideal of statement of operas of Wagner presently sees? Probably, return of suits and scenery of 19 centuries is not necessarily (though separate statements and could be sustained in style of a retro). Wagner's operas simultaneously national and humanistic (as well as in general, Mythology). At the same time, elements of style - winged helmets, boards and an amour by virtue of the big aesthetic expressiveness are absolutely necessary (the same as, for example, ancient Greek helmets with red crests are necessary in the Greek plots). But Richard Wagner dreamed of returning high mission of art in its antique sense; it dreamed, that new art will help the modern person to overcome painful dichotomy consciousnesses; will return it to harmonious synthesis.

While it, unfortunately was not possible. The opera exists, as well as in the nineteenth century, for uslazhdenija hearing and a look (or, for example, that was where to invite lady - not nevertheless on restaurant to go J). Seriously it is quite worthy "the justification of art ".

The Mariinsky theatre is beautiful, no doubt, but feel, how Wagner chokes in its frameworks (as, however, and in Bayreuth). It should leave on the areas nowadays occupied by a pop-music. The modern techniques give us ability, at last, to realize ideas of the ingenious composer. Recollect laser shows ZHarra in Moscow or (less successful) of Yamagata in Petersburg. And other similar plots would be looked in the sky is more tremendous. For example, world in the Scandinavian mythology imagines: the firmament made of a skull of giant Imir, chrez which sprouts World Ash Iggdrasil, Valhalla in its branches, eagles, dragons, etc., made by means of laser holography. Or stages from "Apocalypses by apostle John ".

Alex Fantalov.


The picture shows as the Great good Woden (Odin) is putting to sleep his daughter Brunhild. (Alex Fantalov, oil on canvas).




The hero Siegfried (the winner of dragon) is giving the ring for Brunhild. (Alex Fantalov, oil on canvas).




On this picture we can see dead Siegfried in the burial ship, three prophetess and Brunhild flying up in the sky. (Alex Fantalov, oil on canvas).


'Indo-European mythologies structure in social-historical aspect'.