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Die Sieger and Die Wibelungen: How Parsifal is the Fifth Opera of Wagner’s Ring 1

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Abstract Nineteenth-century German opera composer Richard Wagner was very knowledgeable about Buddhism and its teachings, at least for a European of that time, and he incorporated his knowledge of those teachings into his last five music dramas: The Ring of the Nibelung (a four-opera cycle) and his final opera, Parsifal. The Ring is traditionally performed separately from Parsifal, but this article explains how there is a basis to connect these five great works into one cycle, even to the extent where the performance of a five-opera cycle would one day become a reality. The basis for this connection includes Wagner’s own strong belief in reincarnation, as well as Buddhism’s general teaching and explanation of karma and rebirth.

Affiliations: 1: Crescent City, California


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