<i>Don Carlos</i> and <i>Götterdämmerung Two Operatic Endings and Walter Benjamin's</i> Trauerspiel

John Deathridge

in Wagner Beyond Good and Evil

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254534
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934610 | DOI:
Don Carlos and Götterdämmerung Two Operatic Endings and Walter Benjamin's Trauerspiel

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This chapter focuses on the endings of the two operas, Don Carlos and Götterdämmerung. It presents Walter Benjamin's esoteric study of German baroque drama; an attempt to revaluate the once despised literary art of the German seventeenth century. According to Benjamin, Don Carlos and Wagner's Götterdämmerung, one a classical tragedy and the other a baroque mourning play are not only separated by time; they are also entirely different. The relation of the plays to the theological outlook of the German seventeenth century, in particular to the devaluation of everyday life in the Lutheran opposition to the Counter Reformation, is also a subject explored by Benjamin. Politics and theology are also implicated in the conception of history in the Trauerspiel as catastrophe. He describes the genre in terms of materialist metaphors that in which a discontinuity of meaning and image rejects the false appearance of artistic unity.

Keywords: Don Carlos; Götterdämmerung; Trauerspiel; Wagner; Walter Benjamin

Chapter.  8042 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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