Prequel to The Ring of the Nibelung: How Wagner’s Three Canonical Operas (The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, and Lohengrin) Paved the Way to his Mature Music Dramas


Heise, Paul Brian


Paul Brian Heise has studied the works of Richard Wagner since 1971. While pursuing graduate studies in anthropology at Southern Illinois University, he developed an argument that Wagner’s works could be understood as an allegory and withdrew from formal studies to devote his life to discovering and sharing his wholesale reassessment of the meaning of Wagner’s dramas and their music. Heise has published extensively on Wagner, including The Wound That Will Never Heal: An Allegorical Interpretation of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung (Academica Press, 2021), and, with the support of the late British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, the website, an online compendium of Heise’s thoughts about Wagner.

Scholars of Richard Wagner’s works have long noted his numerous comparisons between their characters and plots in his letters, essays, and recorded remarks. Yet no one has previously attempted to assess their implications for our understanding of his art systematically. Paul Heise’s quest to grasp the allegorical unity underlying Wagner’s canonical artworks began in the 1970s. Following his allegorical interpretation of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung, The Wound That Will Never Heal (Academica Press, 2021), this fresh installment of Heise’s lifelong Wagner project will demonstrate how the composer employed key facets of the plots of his first three canonical operas The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, and Lohengrin in building the sophisticated allegorical superstructure which culminated in his Ring of the Nibelung and his other mature music-dramas, Tristan and Isolde, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and Parsifal. This study casts a retrospective light on the many meanings hidden within these three operas, which were the prequel to the Ring, revealing their heretofore subliminal content as never before.

History, Music, Philosophy, Richard Wagner, Performing Arts, Opera, Mythology, Allegory, Comparative Literature, Germany
Release Date: 
January 15, 2025
9781680532951 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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