Day School: Wagner, the Last Great Works

Ref: C3747052

Wagner holds a unique place in the history of opera and was a major influence on those who came after. He was fascinated by myths and their ability to explore life's deep questions. His early operas were derivative in style and unsuccessful. But beginning with 'The Flying Dutchman', he started to build his own style, and this and later operas are based on ancient myths which he moulded into his own versions to create his 'music dramas'. The 'Ring Cycle' was the culmination of his ideas and was 25 years in the making before being finally staged at the unique Bayreuth Opera House, purpose-built to Wagner's own design. Ever since, the 'Ring' has stimulated the imagination of multiple directors to create many varied interpretations, some of which will be highlighted. Wagner's final opera 'Parsifal' is based on myths surrounding the Holy Grail and has eluded definitive interpretation, continuing to provoke academic discussion. But musically, it holds a special place for Wagner admirers.

Course aim

Wagner's operatic career culminated in the two great works - the monumental 'Ring Cycle' and 'Parsifal'. This course will present the four parts of 'The Ring', its premier at Bayreuth and its afterlife, and explore the unique character of 'Parsifal'.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the genesis and the long process of the creation of the ‘Ring Cycle’.
  • Describe the story of the creation of the Bayreuth Opera House.
  • Describe the critical relationship between Wagner and King Ludwig of Bavaria.
  • Articulate a view on ‘Ring Cycle’ interpretations.
  • Describe the genesis of ‘Parsifal’ and its afterlife.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Prior knowledge is not a pre-requisite, but listening to or watching any part of 'The Ring' or 'Parsifal' would be good groundwork and should help to stimulate good questions and discussion.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Day School: Wagner, the Last Great Works


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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