The Wagner Journal

Laurence Dreyfus, Siegfried’s Masculinity

Laurence Dreyfus, Siegfried’s Masculinity

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November 2010, Volume 4, Number 3, 4–26.

Wagner’s protagonist Siegfried, the quintessence of the new German man of the future, has always exuded a self-evident virility, most obvious in his heroic deeds, in his rejection of sentimentality, in his traditional costume design and in a popular iconography which has remained unchanged since the mid-19th century. From the very moment Siegfried first appears onstage in Act I of the third Ring opera, everything about him confirms an undiluted representation of manliness. Wagner’s stage directions couldn’t make this more clear: ‘In rough forest clothing, with a silver horn on a chain, Siegfried enters with sudden boisterousness from the forest.’ 

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