Once tainted by association with Hitler and Nazism, Richard Wagner's work has experienced an international cultural renaissance in the last 25 years. His magnum opus, "Der Ring des Nibelungen", which took him over 20 years to finish, is a complex tale with themes of greed, corruption and loss, spun out in more than 16 hours of powerfully moving opera. This book, with provocative essays for both the uninitiated and the seasoned fan, examines Wagner's Ring cycle from a wide array of modern perspectives. Divided into six parts, this anthology first offers a foundation for the "Ring", with a chronology and an introduction, along with a look at Wagner as an enterprising marketer. Part Two explores different interpretations of the "Ring", with reference to politics, romanticism and international inspirations. Part Three studies the complex relationship between Wagner's "Ring" and Germany, with a summary of the opera's influence on German culture and a discussion of its Munich premiere. Part Four offers a production history, including studies of the "Ring's" effects in America and its influence on world literature.
Part Five provides a technical examination of language in the "Ring", as well as an interview with the famous Wagnerian soprano Jane Eaglen. The book concludes with an essay on the trouble with Wagnerian opera and an overview of the recorded "Ring" on disc, video and print.