By M. Owen Lee
Richard Wagner's wisdom of and keenness for Greek drama was once so profound that for Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner was once Aeschylus come alive back. unusually little has been written in regards to the pervasive impression of classical Greece at the quintessentially German grasp. during this dependent and masterfully argued e-book, well known opera critic Father Owen Lee describes for the modern reader what it could were wish to witness a dramatic functionality of Aeschylus within the theatre of Dionysus in Athens within the 5th century B.C. - whatever that Wagner himself undertook to do on numerous events, imagining a functionality of The Oresteia in his brain, analyzing it aloud to his buddies, offering his personal remark, and touching on 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 forged new mild on Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal, and particularly the powerful Ring cycle, the place Wagner made huge use of Greek parts to offer structural solidarity and dramatic credibility to his Nordic and Germanic myths. No opera fan, argues Father Lee, can quite comprehend Wagner saving Brünhilde with no realizing 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 tune enthusiasts are conscious of - that Greek theatre and tradition had at the such a lot German of composers and his progressive musical dramas.
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Extra resources for Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks
In the end, the Furies are persuaded by music to pass beneath the hill where we are sitting, and live there, and communicate the intuitive wisdom of an older stage of civilization to our new democracy, Athens. The trilogy ends, as we expect from Aeschylus, with a display of pageantry: the Kind Ones, no longer the furious enemies of Zeus but now his willing agents, change their black robes to crimson. ) Athena leads them, torch in hand, in a shining processional across the orchestra and out of the theatron till they pass out of sight to make their home under the nearby Areopagus, the place of Athens's ancient court of justice.
We have nothing like an authentic biography from antiquity, but we can piece together some details of his life from various sources. He was born into an aristocratic family in 525 BC, at a time when Athens was moving from aristocracy to democracy, opening up commercially, and enthusiastically developing its arts. Aeschylus fought the invading Persians at the battle of Marathon (490 BC) where his brother was killed clinging to an enemy ship as it pulled away from shore. He may have fought in the decisive naval battle with the Persians at Salamis (480 BC) as well: he describes it in clearer detail in his play The Persians than any of the contemporary historians do in their histories.
The speech goes on. The watchman on the roof is wait- 20 Athena Sings: Wagner and the Greeks ing for a light out of darkness. His queen, Clytemnestra, has arranged for a series of beacon fires to signal Agamemnon's return. When, across the sea, Troy is finally set afire, the news will be passed in a series of beacon fires, from mountain top to mountain top, from island to island, so that here in Greece the queen will know of the victory within minutes. Again the watchman's words begin a pattern of images.