Wagner's Greeks, and Wieland's Too

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:
Wagner's Greeks, and Wieland's Too

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The debate about the Greeks in relation to Wagner has been strongly influenced by three lectures which this chapter focuses on. These lectures were given at the Bayreuth Festival between 1962 and 1964 by the conservative German classicist Wolfgang Schadewaldt. Schadewaldt played a small, though by no means unimportant, role in helping Wieland perpetuate the myth that Wagner's dramas could be seen through the lens of the Greeks as having their origin in the more problematic nationalist corners of German Idealism greatly diminished and cleansed of their immediate past in prewar Bayreuth. Once cumbersome beings in the service of German nationalist ideology, Wagner's dramas shed their skins, so to speak, to metamorphose into creatures of sublime beauty and universal truth. In Wieland's hands, they essentially became works without a palpable history, despite the clamor in the wings, which can still be heard, that they are nothing of the sort.

Keywords: Greeks; Wagner; Wolfgang Schadewaldt; Wieland; nationalist ideology

Chapter.  3593 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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