The Big Think

January 24, 2004

Two Rings to Rule Them All

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:14 am

Yet another comparison between Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This one focuses on Howard Shore’s masterful score and has some great one-liner’s to boot.
To wit:
You don’t ask whether an elf could kill an oliphaunt, or even what an oliphaunt is; you go along with the premise. It is the same in opera. The premise is that performers trained as opera singers are going to assume action-hero roles. Squint a little and it’s all fine
Perhaps what angered Tolkien most was that Wagner wrote a sixteen-hour mythic opera and then, at the end, blew up the foundations of myth.

*UPDATE* D’oh! I forgot the link. Thanks Giles.

1 Comment »

  1. No offense, but this quotation is meaningless (and out of context, I’m guessing). As far as I can tell, it does not connect the two “Ring” stories in any way other than referring to them in the same paragraph. (What is its source? You haven’t included any link.)

    Also, to say that Wagner “blew up the foundations of myth” shows a lack of understanding as to what myth is. Myths are the ever-changing public dreams which (among other functions) serve to align us with the prevailing cosmology of our time and ultimately, the mysterium tremendum. They can also serve to break down static, stagnant belief structures.

    The source of myth is the creative spirit and its foundations are deep in the human psyche. Wagner’s operas do not blow up the creative spirit or destroy the human psyche. In fact, they contain the truest forms of mythology, through and through — beginning, middle, and end.

    Comment by Giles Bateman — January 25, 2004 @ 6:53 am

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