Episode 70: 18070 Wagner: Siegfried

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The libretto arose from Wagner's gradual reconception of the project he had initiated with his libretto Siegfrieds Tod (Siegfried's Death) which was eventually to be incarnated as Götterdämmerung, the final section of the Ring cycle. Having grappled with his text for Siegfrieds Tod, and indeed having undertaken some musical sketches for it during 1851, he realized that it would need a 'preface'. At this point, he conceived that the prefatory opera, Der junge Siegfried, could act as a comic foil to the tragedy of Siegfrieds Tod. Preliminary musical sketches for Der junge Siegfried in 1851 were however quickly abandoned, although Wagner had written to his friend Theodor Uhlig that "the musical phrases are making themselves for these stanzas and periods, without my even having to take pains for them. It's all growing out of the ground as if it were wild." Shortly afterward he wrote to Uhlig that he was now planning to tell the Siegfried story in the form of "three dramas, plus a prologue in three acts"—a clear prefiguring of the Ring cycle.
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Wagner: Siegfried (classicalsavings.com)

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