7th Performance of Don Giovanni at Unter den Linden
Giulio Cesare in Lausanne

The Redeemer Reborn Review

On the flight to Paris, I finished reading Paul Schofeld's The Redeemer Reborn: Parsifal as the Fifth Opera of Wagner's Ring. Certain aspects of the book annoyed me greatly, particularly on page 196 when Schofeld quotes from a conversation between Wagner and Cosima, and then comments: "I will discuss Wotan's renunciation further in a while, but it is clear from Wagner's remarks to Cosima that he sees it as being enough to achieve salvation. In the context of the Buddhist view of cleansing karma, renunciation, is not, by itself, enough, though it is is a necessary first step." Schofeld goes on to say, that Wagner's analysis of his own work, at least through a Buddhist lens, incorrect, and that Wotan is not Titurel but Amfortas.

However, the book was otherwise enjoyable. Despite not being convinced of the author's analysis, it was still quite informative. Certainly there are parallels between Siegfried and Parsifal; Alberich and Klingsor; and Wotan and Amfortas. I found the connection between Brünnhilde and Kundry to be most tenuous. One of the pieces of evidence Schofeld uses was an inscription by Wagner on a photograph of himself to Amalie Materna: "Kundry here, Brünnhilde there, the work's bright jewel everywhere." Evidently Materna sang these roles in Berlin and Bayreuth, I don't see how this helps prove that Brünnhilde is reborn as Kundry.

Schofeld gives numerous etymologies, from taboo to Nibelungen, which was fun. Most interesting was the information on Die Sieger, an opera Wagner planned about an explicitly Buddhist theme. The opera was to be about the first bhikkuni, or ordained female monastic. Also fascinating were the various grail legends, which Schofeld covers in some detail.