Wagner's Ring Cycle: an overview

Course Dates: 04/08/20
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Location: Online

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a mighty epic lasting many hours, full of armies of characters and multiple plot twists, not to mention the musical labels, or ‘leitmotifs,’ that Wagner assigns to various people and ideas throughout. This course is intended for those keen to learn about Wagner and the Ring, and navigate the action across its four constituent operas.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
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.

Tutor Biographies
Katy Hamilton Tutor Website

Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: MD891

Full Tue, day, 04 Aug - 04 Aug '20

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £29.00
Senior fee: £23.00
Concession: £18.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.