When Richard Wagner premiered his epic, 4-night work The Ring of the Nibelungen in 1876, he didn't think of it as an opera. He called it a total work of art that combined drama, poetry, music and staging. Harvard musicologist Thomas Forrest Kelly says that even then it was considered one of the most important artistic events of its time. Next week, PBS will air a new production of the masterpiece, so we've asked Dr. Kelly to join us to talk about Wagner and about the power of music and myth.
Beginning Tuesday, September 11, PBS will air the new production of Wagner's complete Ring Cycle as part of Great Performances at the Met. The event spans 4 nights.
Music from today's show: Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen, 2002 under the direction of James Levine