HUM 316

The Lord of the Ring: Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung

Richard Wagner's monumental operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) (1848-1874) constitutes one of the most significant and influential artistic achievements in Western music and drama. Since Wagner is also a one-man interdisciplinary humanities show, to study this work one must address, not only music and drama, but Greek theatre, German, Norse, and Icelandic mythology, architecture, set design, and philosophy, in particular Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. The course explores scholarly and critical responses to the four operas of Wagner's Ring and also Tristan und Isolde and introduces students to the central issues connecting music and drama, film, philosophy, and the evolving dialogue between art and culture as embodied in these works.