By M. Owen Lee

ISBN-10: 0802087957

ISBN-13: 9780802087959

Richard Wagner's wisdom of and fervour for Greek drama was once so profound that for Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner was once Aeschylus come alive back. strangely little has been written concerning the pervasive effect of classical Greece at the quintessentially German grasp. during this stylish and masterfully argued publication, well known opera critic Father Owen Lee describes for the modern reader what it will possibly were wish to witness a dramatic functionality of Aeschylus within the theatre of Dionysus in Athens within the 5th century B.C. - anything that Wagner himself undertook to do on numerous events, imagining a functionality of The Oresteia in his brain, analyzing it aloud to his associates, offering his personal observation, and referring to the Greek vintage drama to his personal romantic view.

Father Lee additionally makes use of Wagner's writings on Greece and entries from his wife's diaries to solid new mild on Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal, and particularly the strong Ring cycle, the place Wagner made huge use of Greek parts to provide structural solidarity and dramatic credibility to his Nordic and Germanic myths. No opera fan, argues Father Lee, can rather comprehend Wagner saving Brünhilde with out understanding the Athena who, in Greek drama, first introduced justice to Athens.

Written with a readability and intensity of data that experience characterised all Father Lee's books at the classics of Greece and Rome and made his six different volumes of opera bestsellers, Athena Sings strains the profound effect - a power few song fans are conscious of - that Greek theatre and tradition had at the so much German of composers and his innovative musical dramas.

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That and the fact that the image patterns were set to music, and the music danced, and the mythic happenings mimed. This is a different Athena Sings 27 kind of tragedy from Shakespeare's, where there is of course plenty of imagery deftly patterned, but where there is no deliberate attempt to be mysterious about it, and no elaborate music and dance to propel it. In Shakespeare the dramatic emphasis is on action and character. In Aeschylus there is little action and even less characterization. Half of the play is given to the chorus, which ponders the action with words heavy with imagery that constantly shifts and suggests.

And his purpose is not to lead his fellow-countrymen back into that world, but, on the contrary, to lead them through it and out of it ... by showing it to be capable of a higher interpretation, and, in the Eumenides, by showing it transformed ... '22 Set against the female Furies in this final play is the male Apollo. He too appears at last, one of the new dynasty of gods, representing the reign of reason. The panels on the skene now represent his temple at Delphi. Athena Sings 39 Orestes has fled for sanctuary to the god who commanded him to avenge his father.

What do we say now as we rise from out seats? Perhaps that the crimson of the tapestry used to kill a king became the colour of the robes in which the Furies vested themselves to play a new, constructive role in a democ- 42 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks racy. 25 And as for justice - justice is not any more the old law of blood for blood, not something mankind practised in prehistoric ages under older gods. Justice will come henceforth from a democratic court of law, and in the integration of the values associated archetypally with both female and male.

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Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks by M. Owen Lee

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