Inside the life of Richard Wagner

Updated: Feb 04, 2018, 09:51 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi

Catch SOI's Zane Dalal talk about the German composer's life, time and music

Zane Dalal
Zane Dalal

Anyone who enjoys western classical music would be familiar with the grandeur and the magic of Richard Wagner's works. But, in order to understand the German composer's operas and the Ring Cycle - cycle of four epic music dramas composed by Wagner - in particular, it is important to comprehend the history and social underpinnings of the times he lived in. At a new talk, Zane Dalal, associate music director and conductor of NCPA's Symphony Orchestra of India, will explore Wagner's music and drama, and the social construct in which he worked, that influenced his legacy.

Titled Wagner: The Ring, the Reich and personal recollections of Bayreuth, Dalal will also give anecdotal references to his own time at the Bayreuth Festival - dedicated solely to stage works by the composer - in 1989. "In western classical music composition, Wagner represents the culmination of emotion, drama, power, energy and voluminous sound. As a composer of opera, he represents a style unto himself, responsible for his own libretti, music, stage craft, set design and personnel, in what became a 'top down' despotic control of the artform. This culminated in his Opera House at Bayreuth in Bavaria," he says.

Explaining why there is a need to explore Wagner's life history, Dalal says, "Music is best understood by examining all the surrounding facets that made its creation possible. Wagner himself was an iconoclast. A German nationalist and a confirmed anti-Semite, Wagner's writings and his life story are interwoven with his music. By the second generation, the Wagner family had developed deep ties to Hitler's regime and the music took on a political relevance for the Third Reich. Richard Wagner's music is fascinating to explore."

When: 5 PM
Where: Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point

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