What is the course about?
The course will provide an outline of the plot of each of the four operas within the Ring cycle: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. We will trace the story and the paths of the main characters, and also consider the ways in which Wagner chooses to depict them in music, using a network of leitmotifs that adds a rich layer of additional subtext to interactions on stage.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The plot of the Ring, and Wagner’s construction of the libretto
- Some of the principal leitmotifs, with examples across operas
- Some background on the composition of the operas, and Wagner’s musical and dramatic thinking.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Summarise the story of each of the four operas
- Identify some of the principal leitmotifs
- Recognise some of the characters and objects from their leitmotifs.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge of music is required but you should have an interest in music and be keen to find out more. No knowledge of German is required either! Libretto examples will be given to you with translations. You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, including handouts
Guided listening and watching of audio and audio-visual examples
Class discussion and debate.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
To join this online class you will need a good internet connection and computer/tablet with webcam and sound. All teaching materials will be provided by the tutor in pdf format in advance of the lesson via google classroom.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in other courses in our wide range of Music History courses offered throughout the year.