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Statement Hans-Joachim Wagner

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Wagner

Kunststiftung NRW

“The Ring of the Nibelung”– Kent Nagano – Concerto Köln: This constellation promises a unique, artistic experience.

Richard Wagner’s tetralogy, “The Ring of the Nibelung”, presents a challenge. Despite a vastly diverse history of interpretations – be it in the area of music or literature, be it theatrically, philosophically or politically-founded – multiple questions about the “Ring” have remained unanswered to this day. This may have something to do with the perspective derived through Richard Wagner’s theoretical writings that is primarily focused on theatrical aspects and prioritizes the reconstruction of history of impact and influence. In comparison, questions regarding Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” in terms of historically-informed performance practice, have remained scant. And this void is to be filled.

For the Kunststiftung NRW, the support of the project, “WAGNER-READINGS”, is of significance in a number of ways. For several years, supporting artistic research has played a major role within the Kunststiftung’s funding programs – albeit with a primary focus on theater, dance and literature; examples of this being the Christoph Schlingensief guest professorship for scenic research at the Ruhr University in Bochum, the Pina Bausch fellowship and the Thomas Kling lectureship at the University of Bonn. With “WAGNER-READINGS”, the base of support is expanded to the area of music, bringing art and research together in a so to speak ideal-typical way by conducting research into the complex correlations involved in the musical-theatrical production of Wagner and translating the results into artistic practice. For Concerto Köln as an internationally-renowned ensemble of historically-informed performance practice, this project unbolts the music of the second half of the 19th century for the first time. The Kunststiftung NRW will support this process as it will open up new artistic perspectives for the ensemble. Ultimately, however, the performance is the telos and it will present itself to its audience as a literally unheard of, aesthetic realm of experience.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Wagner, Kunststiftung NRW

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