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Another Wagner Book: Richard Wagner's Women

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 16 September 2011 | 7:40:00 pm

Yes, I know, thee are a lot of books on Wagner. Whether this will be as interesting and as well written as Jane Glover's Mozart's Women remains to be seen - although given the centrality of women in both Wagner's life and work it should at least prove interesting. When I get round to reading it I will try and let you know.

From the Publisher:

Richard Wagner's music contains some of the most powerful portrayals of emotions in all opera, particularly love. Eva Rieger presents a new picture of the composer, showing how the women at his side inspired him and how closely his life and art intertwined.

We follow Wagner's restless hunt for the 'ideal woman', her appointed task being to give him shelter, warmth, inspiration, adventure and redemption, all in one. He could hardly have desired anything more contradictory, and this is reflected in the female characters of his operas. They are all in some way torn, faltering between their own desire for self-realization and the societal constraints that impel them to sacrifice themselves for their men.

Rieger bids farewell to essentialist, naturalized notions of femininity and masculinity. Her investigations are both comprehensive and convincing, for she avoids the pitfalls of imposing extraneous interpretation, instead focussing keenly on the music itself.

EVA RIEGER is Professor Emeritus in Historical Musicology at the University of Bremen and lives in the principality of Liechtenstein.


13 Digit ISBN: 9781843836858Pages: 248
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Subject: Music
BIC Class: AV

1 Prelude
2 '...the world as yet has no notion of it': Wagner's Musical Language
3 From Rienzi to Der fliegende Holländer
4 'The glitter of a high-class brothel': Tannhäuser
5 'Take all that I am!':Lohengrin
6 Sexual Promise and the Womanly Redeemer:Tristan und Isolde
7 Mathilde, the 'dear muse': Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
8 The Ring of the Nibelung: Genesis and Prelude - The Ring I
9 Wotan and the Valkyrie -The Ring II
10 Siegfried and Women -The Ring III
11 Götterdämmerung -The Ring IV
12 Between Eva and Kundry: ' woman at my side!'
13 '...the suffering of love's seduction': Kundry and Parsifal
14 Postlude