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Wagner wanted Siegfried, the third music drama in The Ring of the Nibelung, to be the most popular of the cycle. Despite its many beautiful and dramatic scenes, it has not fulfilled its composer's aspiration: Professor Ulrich Weisstein examines why. Professor Anthony Newcomb contributes a detailed analysis of Wagner's leitmotifs, identifying the different purposes they fulfil. Derrick Puffett discusses the fact that Wagner composed Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg in the eight-year hiatus between his beginning and completion of Siegfried's second act; Puffett explores the subsequent changes in Wagner's musical imagination that enabled the composer to complete his enormous task. The thematic guide complements those found in the other Opera Guides to The Ring Cycle.
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