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Smithsonion Streaming on Zoom

Richard Wagner: Beyond The Ring All-Day Seminar, a Smithsonian Associates Streaming Program

A Smithsonian Associates Streaming All-Day Seminar with Saul Lilienstein! In the midst of writing The Ring of the Nibelung, Richard Wagner took a breather to write works smaller in scale and easier to perform. The result: two of his greatest works, Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger.

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Richard Wagner: Beyond The Ring All-Day Seminar, a Smithsonian Associates Streaming Program

Time & Location

Mar 12, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM EST

Smithsonion Streaming on Zoom

About the event

In the midst of writing The Ring of the Nibelung,  the most monumental artistic work of the 19th century, Richard Wagner  took a breather. His intention was to write works that were smaller in  scale and easier to perform. The result: Two of his greatest works, Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nuremburg.

Tristan, seething with erotic harmonies, is considered the  most revolutionary work of classical music of its time. The opera was  initially abandoned after 165 rehearsals after being declared  unperformable. Die Meistersinger followed and became Wagner’s  most popular opera. It was filled with warmth, wisdom, and comedy—and  plenty of major chords. Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal, was conceived while the Ring was still in rehearsal and as new sonic possibilities were being discovered that changed the course of music throughout Europe.

Using excerpts from the finest representations on video, opera and classical music, scholar Saul Lilienstein unearths the treasures this great composer created beyond the Ring. Cost for non-members of the Smithsonian is $90; this event is not sponsored by the Wagner Society of Washington DC.  

Click here to register on the Smithsonian Associates web site.

10 to 11:30 a.m.  Tristan and Isolde

How Wagner's new harmonic depicts sexual desire, and his “endless  melody” transforms the agony of tragic yearning into beautiful sound.  His famous use of leitmotifs (musical phrases accompanying the  appearances of characters, ideas, and dramatic situations) throughout Tristan revolutionized opera structure.

11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Die Meistersinger

Within all the innovations of Wagner’s mature style, genuine songs  return, lovers are united, and characters can rejoice in an unrestrained  profusion of melody. Profound questions about the role of art in  society and of youthful exuberance versus wisdom born of maturity are  interwoven into the music and the drama.

1:15 to 2:15 p.m.  Break

2:15 to 4 p.m.  Parsifal

In the mystic interior of his own opera house, the Festspielhaus in  Bayreuth, the composer imagines new sonorities and dimensions—the sacred  and the profane, sound and silence, Christianity and Buddhism. All are  intermingled in Parsifal. In Wagner’s words about the opera, "Here time and space are interchangeable.”

 Patron Information 

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply  individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link  email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a  cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your  responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs  typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the  program.
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