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Der Ring des Nibelungen

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Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera.
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Jay Hunter Morris as the title character in the Met's new production of Wagner's "Siegfried."

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.

Watch Sneak Peek: Wagner's Dream on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

Books by Thomas Forrest Kelly: First Nights at the Opera, Music Then and Now

Music from today's show: Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen, 2002 under the direction of James Levine

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.