The Wagner Journal

Udo Bermbach, German Readings of the ‘Ring’

Udo Bermbach, German Readings of the ‘Ring’

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November 2012, Volume 6, Number 3, 37–59.

In an article in the 1920 Bayreuther Blätter by Alois Höfler, a renowned and active Austrian Wagnerian, there can be found a direct, not to say banal interpretation of the Ring which relates the tetralogy straightforwardly to the First World War. Höfler parallels the plot and characters of the Ring with the actions of the warring nations and with the Versailles Peace Treaty with such undisguised immediacy that the tetralogy appears in hindsight to be a visionary anticipation of the World War and its impact on Germany. Wagner’s 1852 remark to his friend Theodor Uhlig – made just before he had completed the Ring poem – that his entire Weltanschauung had here found its most perfect artistic expression, is to Höfler proof and legitimisation enough for his assumption that the Ring can be related in a direct way to day-to-day politics.

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