In 1848 Richard Wagner (1813–1883) began work on what eventually would become his monumental cycle of four music dramas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). It would be twenty-six years before his masterpiece was fully completed in November 1874.
Wagner's Ring: Forging an Epic explores the challenging creation of Wagner’s epic, and the staging of its 1876 premiere in Bayreuth and its 1889 American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The exhibition includes rare music manuscripts, personal letters, books, costumes and stage designs, photographs, and historical artifacts. A number of the items are on loan from the Richard Wagner Museum in Bayreuth and have never before been on public display. Additional material comes from the Morgan’s music holdings, the Metropolitan Opera Archives, Columbia University, and from several private collections.
Lead funding for this exhibition is generously provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Charles E. Pierce, Jr. Fund for Exhibitions.
Music clips from Wagner's Ring have been selected to accompany the original manuscripts on view in the exhibition. Available free with museum admission, please ask for an audio guide at the Admissions Desk.