Wagner’s Ring Cycle

Life Mission Training Center recently had the pleasure of hosting a lecture on Richard Wagner delivered by a friend of ours, the knowledgeable Dave Murphy. This was the first of four planned lectures on Wagner’s Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen); each lecture will cover one part of the four-part opera. Wagner spent an astonishing twenty-six years working on his Ring Cycle, writing both the beautiful libretto and now-famous melodies to at last produce a lavish work of art. Wagner’s incredible vision not only provided the motivation necessary to complete his masterpiece; he also invented his own instruments for the music and designed the first orchestra pit. Mr. Murphy chuckled about how Wagner became very good at fund-raising/begging, receiving donations sufficient to finance his own made-to-order opera house specifically designed for his magnum opus! 

Mr. Murphy, an exceptional teacher, introduced us to the specialized topic with his warm demeanor, a master educator’s confidence, and a fan’s enthusiasm (he first became enthralled at age eighteen!). We were easily swept into the world of Norse gods, flirtatious river nymphs, tricky dwarves, and masterful set design.

But why are Christians studying pagan gods and giants, curses and power-hungry creatures so eagerly? Doesn’t it matter that this work of art was created by a man whose moral life hardly bears close scrutiny? To answer those good questions, we note that truth, goodness, and beauty are God’s and declare Him from all good art. Wagner may not have lived Christianly, but he was still made in the image of God and thus had the ability to create art that speaks to the truth, goodness, and beauty of reality and its Creator. A dissolute life undoubtedly affects an artist’s output somehow; yet we can find so much that reflects God if we attend well to the work itself. These fascinating lectures are part of that enjoyable effort.  

You are cordially invited to join us December 9th for the second lecture in this four-part series. The event will be held Friday, December 9th, at Life Mission Training Center, and will start at 7 PM with hors d’oeuvres; the lecture will begin at 7:30 PM. To RSVP, please click the link here.