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Wagner Beyond Good and Evil$
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John Deathridge

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254534

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254534.001.0001

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Symphonic Mastery or Moral Anarchy? First Day: Die Walküre

Symphonic Mastery or Moral Anarchy? First Day: Die Walküre

(p.54) 5. Symphonic Mastery or Moral Anarchy? First Day: Die Walküre
Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

John Deathridge

University of California Press

This chapter describes one of the most famous works of Wagner, Die Walküre. Die Walküre has always been by far the most popular work in the Ring, and when Wagner first introduced some of its music to the world, it had a profound effect on modern audiences. The tragic paradoxes of Die Walküre are drawn from Greek myth and Shakespeare, but they also have a real basis in the mid-nineteenth-century idea that family relations inevitably reflect the bourgeois-capitalist system in which they are situated. However, Die Walküre had been misunderstood because it had been performed outside the context of the complete Ring and was hence still vulnerable to exploitation as a series of “operatic” or “purely musical” numbers divorced from any serious dramatic meaning, paled before the enthusiasm that greeted the work. Therefore, the question that remains is whether Die Walküre was a symphonic mastery or a moral anarchy.

Keywords:   Wagner, a symphonic mastery, moral anarchy, Die Walküre, tragic paradox

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