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The music of time – on Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen

Vivianne Holmberg, Johanna Rudström and Susann Végh as the Rhinemaidens and Johan Edholm as Alberich © Markus Gårder/Kungliga Operan Richard Wagner
DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN
Stockholm Royal Opera
& Opera North / BBC iPlayer Roger Scruton
THE RING OF TRUTH
The wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung
400pp. Allen Lane. £25. Simon Callow
BEING WAGNER
The triumph of the will
232pp. William Collins. £14.99. Reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, June 2 Wagner’s heroes have something of a drink problem. What great deeds would Siegfried have gone on to if he hadn’t accepted Gutrune’s potion of forgetting in Götterdämmerung? What would have happened to Tristan and Isolde if Brangäne had simply brought them a glass of water before they reached Cornwall? Would Isolde have quietly consented to marry King Mark, Tristan eager to serve them both? Or if Brangäne had brought the death draught as requested? Would we have had a searing but refreshingly brief single act opera on our hands? Then a…

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