Vortrag des DFG-Projektes "Theaterbilder und Musik"
beim Symposium Wagner at the Millennium
November 1998 in Adelaide/Australien

 

Anno Mungen

Wagner's Visual Concept of Music Theater
and its
French Background in the Early Nineteenth Century

 

Introduction

Richard Wagner's musical heritage consists of a number of works for the theater. His operas should not be conceived as a sounding fulfillment of an ideology, but as bursting, lively, and last but not least effective music theater. It nevertheless seems that Wagner's theoretical statements are in the center of the exegesis of his works.

In order to gain a different, "new" understanding of Wagner’s works - as is the goal of this conference - we must start to follow other indications than those left by Wagner in the extensive theoretical writings explaining his music. I am convinced that a larger dissociation from Wagner's artistic writings, which must be understood as strategic tools, would allow a deeper understanding of his works and particularly of the theatrical conception of opera and music drama. It is essential to distance oneself from Wagner’s one-sided models, which he declared to be national and with which he tried to base his musical work solely in German traditions.1

The term "Gesamtkunstwerk" serves as a guide of my analysis. Without being able to define this rather problematic term extensively in this context, I assume that this term describes the "medialization" of stage events on various levels of theatrical processes in a reasonable manner.2 The various levels of theatrical processes include:

                    1.the body of the actor on stage,

2. the organization of the stage with props and stage technology, and

3. the synchronized combination of the first two points with music.

For this investigation, I assume that Wagner's conception of music theater was based primarily on French model - as are many things in the German-speaking cultural area in the first half of the nineteenth century. As Matthias Broszka has demonstrated in his book Die Idee des Gesamtkunstwerks in der Musiknovellistik der Julimonarchie, which pursues an approach drawn from literary history, basic aspects of the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk have their aesthetic roots in French models of the 1830s.3 Based on this premise, whose historical implications on broader topic of Wagner and France cannot be discussed here, additional relations between the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk and France in the areas of architecture and stage application will be considered at a later point.4

The consideration that the visual element of the complete presentation provides the point of departure for the acoustical rendering of the composition through by considering two issues:5 First, it is important to mention that the importance of the gestural aspects manifested in Wagner’s music dramas, in which gestural elements as optical experiences are manifested as essential moments of the complete conception in interplay with the score, are based on French opera models. Second, I will investigate the impact of a widely spread sub-genre of painting and theater, namely that of panorama and diorama, on Wagner’s oeuvre from a perspective of theatrical history. This point will be a central one, because my present research project, which is sponsored by the DFG, focuses on the relationship of such images to music.

 

1. Musical and body gestures

The human being on stage is a point of departure for any kind of theatrical expression. In that connection, I would like to refer to the gestures which concern the actor and which become a medium by fixing their values in the score. In this context, I use the term "gesture" to describe the motion of human body parts or of facial muscles of the actor on stage and the emotional state of the acting person expressed by these means.

Matthias Spohr, who has investigated Wagner's relationship to popular theater forms, has shown that Wagner was particularly influenced by the melodrama as developed in England and especially France. According to Spohr, the melodrama has a high degree of medially fixed expression especially as concerns gesture.6 Similar statements can be made about French grand opera of the time (approximately 1800-1830). The opera scores of Gaspare Spontini, richly annotated with stage and expressive directions for singers, reveal a close relationship of gestures (in the broadest sense of the word) to music, similar to that found in the melodramas.

In Spontini’s scores (the textualized shape of the work), the visual element becomes part of the score via expressive directions, often meticulously written down in tempo markings and stage directions; it is mediated by the interpreter during a performance. The Napoleonic composer Spontini was engaged in the Prussian capital of Berlin in 1820 in order to promote a German operatic genre to be established by providing the necessary international and particularly French stimulations.7 His activities in Berlin included not only composition and conducting, but also active participation in the creation of his stage designs and in stage directing.8 The reasons for such a close connection between those tasks can be found in the scores.

Particularly in Spontini’s late operas, the composer's attempt to divide and spread out the highly differentiated emotional content of a figure in its varying valeurs becomes evident. For a given situation, not only is the affect important, but the never-ending motion of the emotional state also becomes the genuine expression of a scene. This procedure is best found in Spontini's last opera Agnes von Hohenstaufen in the recitative parts richly equipped with motives. To give one of the many examples: In an extensive part formed as a recitative in the first scene of the first act, Spontini makes no less than 16 changes concerning the tempo in only 50 measures. The markings in the score can mostly be understood as tempo devices, but repeatedly, they come close to expressive devices, as can be seen in the following example: "piu mosso con forza" or "accelerando con piu furore."9

Such devices and stage directions in Spontini's scores concern tempo, vocal and general emotional expressions of the singer, as well as movements of the performers on stage (stage directions). Spontini's music benefits by interpreting the psychological situation of the figures he creates. This level of substance is intended to be rendered by means of gestures, which are mediated via the score. The music gains its gestural power from this forceful interplay. In relation to Wagner’s conception, one should devote a comparative analysis to the motivic shapes, particularly of the recitatives, giving special emphasis to the gestural character of the music, which unfortunately cannot be accomplished here. Based on preliminary considerations to such an investigation, however, one can expect to find similarities in the two conceptions with regards to the shaping of gestural elements of the performance.

 

2. The Theater as World Panorama

The second aspect to be discussed concerns the context in which the actor is exposed to theatrical actions, the "environment" of the singer. This term can be understood in two ways: First, this "environment," namely the stage, can be interpreted as a concrete space to be artfully designed. Second, "theater" in a more abstract sense becomes a kind of forum that reflects the world. The panorama, on the one hand as a visual medium with its technical possibilities and on the other hand as a comprehensive view of a topography (however it may be defined, possibly as a landscape or even the "world"), functions on both levels of meaning as illustrative model.10

Wagner understood his Ring des Nibelungen as a comprehensive reflection of the world, as he mentioned in a letter to Liszt: "Take notice of my new creation, it contains the beginning and end of the world!"11 This idea of panorama—which can be translated from the Greek as "all-round view"–was most closely related to such a holistic approach to music theater. Simultaneously, the larger contemporary images reflect a new consciousness, concretely expressing the nineteenth century and its changes. One of the things reflected in the panorama was the rapid technological expansion of the time, such as the development of railways and steamboats. In an abstract sense, "motion" was the intrinsic issue of the optical media. In terms of panorama, this can be understood in two ways: Motion took place in the journey to a remote landscape or city (despite the fact that one stayed at home) and as physical motion on site in the building where the panorama was located, where one moved around in order to enjoy various views of the represented scene.

In particular, the large variety of optical media expresses the spirit of the time. One wanted to overcome personal limitations, to "entgrenzen" [to "de-limit", to break down barriers],12 and to let the eye wander. The panorama was the paradigm for a new desire for vastness, a vastness that, though artificial, was the more fascinating for the people. In the face of the resulting implications of this concept, such as a completely new sense of mobility, Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen must be regarded as a work that made use of this panoramic view, which in turn was closely related to the nineteenth century and its achievements. The Ring can be interpreted as a kind of panorama, which does not provide a view of a city or landscape from a platform. It is a panorama of the world, in which Wagner - he center of this perspective (the author as platform) transports the spectator to a remote but nondescript time and to an equally familiar and unfamiliar place, namely the Rhine topography, hidden in mythology: "The beginning and end of the world." This pretension equaled a formerly unknown degree of "Entgrenzung." It was the rather demanding attempt to grasp the world's creation and its apocalypse in a vast chain of images that went beyond the scope of time.13

This is not the time to go into all of the implications of the creative media on Wagner's oeuvre.14 Instead, I will restrain myself to two aspects: First, I would like to explain an essential technical detail of the large-format optical media with reference to the term "Gesamtkunstwerk." This detail concerns the moment of performance and can be found in Wagner’s conception of music drama. Then, as a contrast, I will turn to the score and will discuss a musical excerpt from Wagner's Die Götterdämmerung, with the help of the theses introduced above. I will again refer to the textual structure of the work (with reference to Spontini).

1. The following example will demonstrate the outstanding theatrical and political significance of the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk for Wagner's theatrical conception. The outer architecture of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth makes it look more like a panorama building (for example, Hittdorf's panorama building in Paris comes to mind) than a conventional theater. This outer architecture removes social distance as much as the interior architecture, where the layout of the auditorium is based on classical models; the dispersion of boxes in a half-round places the recipients in a democratic structure. The panorama model, aimed at the masses, replaces the court model of theater.15

From a music historian’s point of view, the sinking of the orchestra pit in Bayreuth, done primarily for optical and only secondarily for acoustic reasons, is the most important improvement. It can be attributed to Romanesque or French models,16 just like the conception of lighting in relation of the stage to the auditorium. What comes into play here is the diorama, another form of mass media presentation of image theater, which had an important impact on sceneography and the entire aesthetics of French (and thus of international) theater.17

As was impressively demonstrated by Wolfgang Schivelbusch, the most important point of Jacques Louis Mandé Daguerre's diorama construction was to repeal the actual reality of the theater-like situation and to expose the spectator to a completely different reality as shown in the pictures. Daguerre showed his first diorama presentation in 1822 in Paris. The canvas screen of more than 200 square meters was partly transparent. Lighting effects allowed one to make changes on the canvas screens in order to suggest motion. As Schivelbusch has demonstrated, it was not generally true in normal theater life that the auditorium was completely dark. Darkness was essential, however, for the diorama for two reasons: Complicated "light games"18 required darkness in order to allow the effect of adding or taking away light to or from a picture. In addition, darkness supported the illusion that the recipient was located inside the demonstrated situation so that he could forget the actual, theater-like environment. This attempt at realism was supported by characteristic noises added to the scene and also by incidental music, such as an organ in a church setting. Jules Janin wrote in 1839: "Daguerre nous a fait entrer dans l'interieur des tableaus, dont, avant lui, on ne voyait que la surface."19

At the same time as image concepts were being refined and perfected in the manner described above, the idea of music made invisible was taken up various times. Considering the large-scale maneuvers undertaken to deceive the senses, it is almost self-evident that the standard production of music and noises in Daguerre’s diorama remained invisible. I do not want to imply that Wagner directly adopted the idea of music made invisible from the dioramas - their musical part in itself was much too insignificant. In addition, there were other, further developed architectural concepts that were probably closer related to Wagner and his architect Semper, such as Schinkel's Schauspielhaus in Berlin. However, the diorama was equipped with another feature that was somehow rather similar to the aesthetic ideas related to the sunken orchestra pit, even though the two concepts differed in regard to the concerned perceptive levels. The so-called "visual tunnel" of the diorama, also a totally dark draft-like room laid out with black fabric, preceded the image and was found in similar shape in the large-scale panorama. As Schivelbusch explains, it served to neutralize the sense of distance and to create the impression of endlessness via total avoidance of light–despite the fact that a spatial distance had in fact been created. Comparable to the visual tunnel is Wagner’s "mystical abyss" of the orchestra pit, which diminished the optical distance by means of the orchestra, which in turn added music to the images on stage from the "off". The invisible music helped the recipient, who was located (as in the diorama) in a dark auditorium and who was meant to forget his real environment, to get closer to the action. Daguerre's diorama prefigured the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk en miniature (a performance lasted only ten minutes) in an ideal manner.

2. The acoustical repertoire of diorama performances was relatively simple: alphorn or organ, or sounds such as cow bells, glacier rattles, and certainly thunder, were added to the picture according to their content. The connection to the 4.5 hours of music theater in Die Götterdämmerung does not seem obvious, but it exists to a certain extent. I would like to take a closer look to the ending of the prelude in the transition to the first act of Die Götterdämmerung. The fact that Wagner uses rather picturesque symphonic elements in this passage for tone-painting a sunrise (one of the most frequent themes in dioramas) and later for Siegfried's Rhine journey, as well as the fact that Die Götterdämmerung (and certainly the Ring in general20) is one of the most French works of Wagner, is no coincidence.

On a higher level, the ending of the prologue, in which Brünnhilde and Siegfried meet, thematicizes the concepts of space and motion in regard to scene and music. The orchestral postlude of Siegfried and Brünnhilde's farewell duet is accompanied scenically by Brünnhilde's gestures, which serve as a quasi pantomimic postlude. The scene takes place on the top of a Rhine mountain. From her elevated position, Brünnhilde follows Siegfried with her eyes as he rides downhill on horseback. She can still see him for a long time. This glance into the landscape is not visually available to the audience, but is suggested musically, supported by Brünnhilde's gestures. It corresponds to panoramic glance based on medial images. The mountaintop is the platform, and Brünnhilde watches the vastness of the Rhine landscape. After about fourteen measures characterized by the preceding actions, namely Brünnhilde's love motive, Siegfried vanishes from her sight, as is dictated in the stage directions.21 Seven measures later, while still searching with her eyes, Brünnhilde receives a motivic signal that indicates Siegfried's relative closeness to her. The stage directions say: "Siegfried's horn can be heard from the valley."22

There is something strange about the horn entrance in this place. First: the horn motive and the externally reduced orchestration at this spot mark an abrupt musical change from what has happened before. This is based on the fact that the musical perspective shifts at this moment. The music from the mystical abyss, the orchestra pit, is contrasted with music that originates in the scene, incidental music. Siegfried's horn must certainly be located in the theater, or, in this case, "underneath" the stage.23 This insertion of incidental music, which lasts only a few measures, motivates Brünnhilde to change her perspective once more, and she catches a glimpse of Siegfried again. At this spot, the orchestra starts its interlude, which is musically based on the simple horn signal: Siegfried's Rhine journey. However, the horn signal itself only appears in this interlude at the moment when the curtain closes, and the horns only play from the orchestra pit.

Without Brünnhilde's pantomimic support, the spectator must imagine the scenic progression of Siegfried's Rhine journey. In contrast to the sunrise in the prologue to Die Götterdämmerung, which happens simultaneously on stage and in the orchestra, Siegfried's Rhine journey as visual phenomenon must be imagined. The simple motivic structure, the regular, quick 3/4 beat, and the pushing impulse give the musical motion a quality that equals the image of Siegfried riding away along the Rhine river.

This interlude functions as changing music and leads from one scene to another. From the high mountains of the Rhine landscape, we arrive at the Gibichungen castle in the Rhine valley. This Rhine topography can be experienced in its entity, though not exclusively in terms of scene and not always visually.

As I said before: Brünnhilde's perspective mirrors the audiences' point of view of a Rhine panorama, but from an elevated position that provides a panoramic view. The view of the person riding along the Rhine river, Siegfried's perspective, corresponds with another visual experience beginning to develop in the nineteenth century. I am talking about forms of panorama in motion, such as the "moving panorama" and the so-called pleorama. In the pleorama in Berlin, for example, the spectator entered a barge. On both sides, canvas screens were unrolled, on which castles of the Rhine valley passed by. This Rhine journey of 1835 was accompanied by music. The description says: "Accompanied by the sound of horns, the trip started in full sunshine."24

The simplicity of the horn signal in Wagner's Die Götterdämmerung, which forms the utmost contrast to the music by which it is surrounded, especially in the love scene, could be explained by such a reference.25 In addition, the assignment of the horn as a semantic pattern (although this seemed to have been rather multifaceted and open26) to the Rhine topography (even if mediated via Siegfried's music as personal motive) is rather unconventional. Particularly the music of the horn on stage behind the scene seems like an invasion into the world of mythos. This invasion appears to be closely related to the sense of realism of the optical media. In any case, "motion" was once more the topic both of the pleorama journey in Berlin and of the optical media, as well as of the changing music in Wagner's Die Götterdämmerung.

This results in my thesis (which will have to be confirmed by further analysis) that Wagner reflects in his music dramas picturesque theater concepts. Their topoi stem from various forms of image theater: journeys along rivers in pleoramas and moving panoramas, sunrises and sunsets and certain topographies, of which particularly the Rhine valley was popular. Wagner did not have to show these landscapes in the orchestral interlude, as the genre concerned one of the topoi of images in the nineteenth century. The visual experience of the recipient served to deliver the concrete historical and present Rhine landscape, while it was mystically hidden on stage.

 

Conclusion

In a metaphorical sense, Wagner's operas are "light games" which require darkness (the mystical abyss in the optical and acoustical sense) as much as a ship requires water.27 The recipient is placed within the stage action; he is literally "in the picture", an aesthetic premise which was most prominent in Daguerre's and Janin's concept of image theater. However, the visual as category of an artwork in the area of theater is rather transitory, since it relies primarily on the individual performance and not on the textual structure. Nevertheless, it was a constitutive category for Wagner, particularly since he attempted to provide visual experiences, such as Siegfried's Rhine journey, by supplying them in the score. It was my goal to sketch central moments of this visual conception and to deduct their origins mainly from the French history of theater. I hope that these preliminary considerations will serve to inspire analytical and precise philological thoughts to sketch central moments of this visual conception and to deduce their origins in the history of French theater. I hope they will serve to invite an analytical and exact philological investigation of all the things that promise to be possible with this method.

 


Literature and Annotations

1 Even if Wagner was convinced of the political efforts connected to the idea of a German nation state, he must have been aware of the difficulties of applying national categories to music history.

2 It is surprising that although the aspect of gestures has been described (e.g., Carl Dahlhaus, Die Bedeutung des Gestischen in Wagners Musikdramen), a thorough investigation of the relationship between stage and music is missing. Detta and Michael Petztet, Die Richard-Wagner-Bühne König Ludwigs II. München Bayreuth, München 1970, strongly emphasizes aspects of art history.

3 Matthias Broszka, Die Idee des Gesamtkunstwerks in der Musiknovellistik der Julimonarchie (=Thurnauer Schriften zum Musiktheater), Laaber 1995. The introduction states: "Die vorliegende Studie macht sich zur Aufgabe, die französischen Ursprünge der Idee des Gesamtkunstwerks zu erhellen. Der im allgemeinen auf Wagner bezogene Begriff bildet hierbei nicht mehr als ein terminologisches Hilfsmittel; nicht seine begriffsgeschichtliche Ableitung ist intendiert, sondern eine Untersuchung von Vorstellungen, die in zeitgenössischen Wortbildungen wie ‘poésie complète (Hugo), ‘réunion’ (Stendhal), combinaison’ und ‘association des arts’ (St. Simonisten) oder l’art complet’ und ‘l’art de l’avenir’ (d’Ortigue) zum Ausdruck kommen." ebda. P. 13.

4 Wagner had numerous relationships with France, which were important in terms of art history and politics. A basic source is Martine Kahande and Nicole Wild (eds.), Exhibition Catalogue, Paris October 1983 until January 1984: Wagner et la France, Paris 1983. His relationship to the French Young Socialists was as influential as his relationship to a French composer with a German heritage, Giacomo Meyerbeer, which was at first extremely positive. The dramatic world of the Nibelungen has its ideological and aesthetic genre foundations in the historical dramas of grand opera, which served Wagner as a model for Rienzi. The existing difference between history and drama seems less crucial than implied by Wagner. He later distinguished himself vehemently from French opera and its main representatives for primarily political reasons, but for personal reasons as well. The latter can only explained through the striking biographical situation of this ambitious, but initially failing, composer. Wagner attacked Meyerbeer harshly because Meyerbeer was regarded as most important opera composer in the world’s capital, and because Wagner had to declare economic and artistic bankruptcy in Paris in 1839, in spite of his benevolent and famous mentor Meyerbeer. Despite the fact that Wagner was initially rejected in France, French theater fascinated him to a high extent. Wagner could not face this conflict and thus decided to develop his own, supposedly nationalistic aesthetics of opera, favoring the virtues of a German national genre. Formerly, such a genre had not existed and was lacking its genuine framework.

5 This is a rather complex thematic field. In this context, only preliminary considerations can be discussed, which will serve to further develop the methodological approach I suggest, primarily based on an image/theater-based conception. In his instructive essay, Der Film Richard Wagners "Kunstwerk der Zukunft", in Günther Weiß, Gernot Gruber, Robert Münster, Erich Valentin, Richard Wagner und. . . ,Regensburg 1983 (Schriftenreihe der Hochschule für Musik München 14), P. 123-147, R. Norbert J. Schneider discusses both of these aspects in the section "Funktionen der visuellen Schicht" (P. 131). He based his considerations on the following premise: "In Analogie zur Filmmusik, deren Entstehung und Ausformung ein optisch Primäres vorausgeht, ist auch Wagners Musikerleben beim Komponieren stark von vorausgehenden Bildeindrücken geprägt gewesen. . . Anders als im Film, wo das Visuelle als eigenständige Schicht in seiner Aussagekraft erhalten bleibt, werden im Musikdrama den visuellen Momenten, die bei der Komposition so inspririerend vorausgegangen waren, im fertigen Werk nur noch untergeordnete Funktionen beigemessen. Die Bildeindrücke sind quasisynästhetisch in die musikalische Schicht eingegangen."

6 Matthias Spohr, Medien, Melodramen und ihr Einfluß auf Richard Wagner, in: Chr.-H. Mahling und Kristina Pfarr, Kongreßbericht "Wagner und seine Lehrmeister", in preparation.

7 See Anno Mungen, Musiktheater als Historienbild. Gaspare Spontinis ‘Agnes von Hohenstaufen’ als Beitrag zur deutschen Oper (=Mainzer Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 38), Tutzing, 1997, p. 6-12.

8 In French theater, the profession of a stage director was much more developed as an independent category than in German-speaking countries. A study of the changing responsibilities of stage directors in the nineteenth century, see Arne Langer, Der Regisseur und die Aufzeichnungspraxis der Opernregie im 19. Jahrhundert (=Perspektiven der Opernforschung 4), Frankfurt a. M. 1997. The fascination of French theater and French stage direction on German artists, particularly in the 1830s and 1840s is described on p. 43f.

9 See Mungen, p. 212f. Another example is the large, multi-movement opera of Statira in Spontini’s Olimpie. The succession of markings in the score reveals the unstable state of the character. The first marking of the arioso is "Avec la plus profonde douleur," then, "Avec force," "A Tempo" (Erard score, p. 27), followed by "Avec un majesté sévère" (p. 29), "Mesuré," "Animez insensiblement le mouvement" (p. 30),

10 It should be mentioned that panorama, diorama, and stage paintings were strongly influenced by each other. Even the formal disposition in the manner of a half-rounded prospectus [?], originated in panorama painting, was used on stage, e.g., for a performance of Halévy’s La Juive. See also the review in Berliner Tageszeitung oder immergrüne Blätter für die elegante Welt 8 (1837), No. 123, 17 October 1837 and Mungen 1997, p. 110f.

11 Quoted after Robert Donington, Richard Wagners "Ring des Nibelungen" und seine Symbole, Stuttgart 1976, p. 12.

12 Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Zur Geschichte der künstlichen Helligkeit im 19. Jahrhundert, Wien, München 1983, p. 203: "Die Malerei zu entgrenzen, den Rahmen des Bildes aufzusprengen, das leistete die Malerei noch selber in Form eben des Rundbildes, das keine seitliche Begrenzung hat."

13 Operas, such as Spontini's Agnes von Hohenstaufen and Wagner's Rienzi can be interpreted as models which go beyond the (time) conventions of an opera performance. For the first time, operas were split up in order to cut the individual performances to a bearable length. The performance of the first act of Agnes von Hohenstaufen lasted no less than 2.5 hours in 1827. For the premiere of Rienzi, the total duration was probably around six hours. The opera was divided and performed on two evenings. The total duration of the Ring is more than 16 hours. This totally goes beyond the conventional frame of staged performances. The event requires space in every sense of the word, not only concerning the width and depth of the stage, but also time.

14 One example is the changing decoration as used in the premiere of Parsifal in 1882; see Langer, p. 98f.

15 The outer facade of the realized Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, designed by Otto Brückwald, differs significantly from earlier conception, which were essentially based on Semper. Jakob Ignaz Hittdorf's panorama building for Paris (see illustration in Jakob Ignaz Hittdorf. Ein Architekt aus Köln im Paris des 19. Jahrhunderts, catalogue of the exhibition Cologne 21 January – 23 March 1997[?], Cologne 1982, p. 189) seems to look more like the architecture in Bayreuth than the realized theater buildings of Semper.

16 See Anno Mungen, "Orchestra." Concetti relativi al suono per iteatri d’opera di Berlino e di Dresda, in: Benedetto Camerana (ed.), Il piacere dell’ascolto, Kongreßbericht L’acoustica come bene culturale. La prgettazione del teatro d’opera tra conservazione e innovazione, Turin 1998 [in print], p. 45-54.

17 Mungen 1997, p. 101.

18 Schivelbusch, p. 202.

19 Schivelbusch, p. 202.

20 Reinhold Brinkmann points out the similarities between the Rienzi finale and the opera-like finale of Die Götterdämmerung. He thus sees a connection between the distinctive genre convention of grand opera, the catastrophe, and the music drama. See Reinhold Brinkmann, "Werkartikel ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen," in: Sieghard Döring (ed.), Pipers Lexikon des Musiktheaters, vol. 6, München 1997, p. 606. Carl Dahlhaus wrote: "In order to evaluate the significance and position of ‘Rienzi’ in Wagner’s oeuvre correctly, one must not only ask which characteristics of music drama are anticipated in grand opera, but also vice versa, which characterstics of grand opera are preserved in a music drama, such as Die Götterdämmerung. The New Grove, Stuttgart, Weimar 1994, p. 117. To my knowledge, Dahlhaus’s question has not been thorougly investigated yet.

21 Richard Wagner, Die Götterdämmerung, Taschenpartitur Edition Eulenburg, London–Zürich–Mainz–New York (n. d.), vol. 1, p. 157: "Brünnhilde's gesture indicates now that Siegfried has vanished from her sight."

22 Die Götterdämmerung, p. 158.

23 Die Götterdämmerung, p. 158.

24 Quoted after Erich Stenger, Daguerres Diorama in Berlin. Ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte der Photographie, Berlin, 1925, p. 40.

25 I owe the idea of a connection between the interlude of Wagner's Die Götterdämmerung with the Rhine pleorama in Berlin to John Mauceris, who mentioned such a phenomenon in a his lecture "Where has all the music gone?" for the "Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio, broadcast on 5 February 1998 in Los Angeles.

26 The various meanings are discussed in great detail in a separate chapter of Egon Voss, Studien zur Instrumentation Richard Wagners(=Studien zur Musikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhundert 24), Regensburg 1970, p. 175-193. However, neither the employment of the horn on stage at the spot mentioned above nor the orchestra interlude are interpreted. The connection horn–Rhine river could thus be interpreted in a general sense as nature symbolism. In a different context, Voss supports this assumption: "The main function of the horn signal is certainly to demonstrate Siegfried's close connection to nature." See Egon Voss, "Wagner und kein Ende," Zurich and Mainz 1996, p. 199.

27 Schivelbusch, p. 209