Concept

Der Ring des Nibelungen: composition of the text

Résumé
The evolution of Richard Wagner's epic operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) was a long and tortuous process, and the precise sequence of events which led the composer to embark upon such a vast undertaking is still unclear. The composition of the text took place between 1848 and 1853, when all four libretti were privately printed; but the closing scene of the final opera, Götterdämmerung, was revised a number of times between 1856 and 1872. The names of the last two Ring operas, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, were probably not definitively settled until 1856. Conception of the Ring According to the composer's own account – as related in his autobiography Mein Leben – it was after the February Revolution that he began to sketch a play on the life of the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa. While researching this work, he came to see Friedrich as "a historical rebirth of the old, pagan Siegfried". Then, in the summer of 1848,
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