Opera Explained: WAGNER, R. - The Ring of the Nibelung (Johnson) (Naxos: 8.558184-85)
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This audiobook series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias, taken from the Naxos recordings of the complete works, the presentation is informative yet entertaining, enabling the listener to get more from this remarkable art form. Wagner's 'Ring' cycle is the most ambitious work in the history of music: four operas that combine to tell a single epic story. Based in legend, it has become a legend in its own right: a supreme challenge for conductors, singers, opera producers, and indeed for audiences. But for all its grandeur and complexity, 'The Ring' is far more accessible than many music lovers think. This two-CD guide explains the basics of the plot, profiles the leading characters, and shows how Wagner's revolutionary music adds fascinating layers of meaning and psychological insight, as well as providing some of the most stirring and intoxicating moments in the entire operatic repertoire.