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The Ring and The Lord of The Rings: A talk by Professor Heath Lees

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Sir Stamford at Circular Quay

93 Macquarie Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Australia

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For many years, devoted fans of JRR Tolkien’s book The Lord of the Rings have swept aside any suggestion that it was based on Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle The Nibelung’s Ring. Tolkien himself scoffed at the idea.

Yet, in the wake of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster film trilogy, more and more people saw The Lord of the Rings as a profoundly Wagnerian blend of epic myth and powerful music. And when they looked closely, they found elements of the story that could only have come from Wagner’s operas.

In a further burst of Wagnerian understanding, film audiences quickly realised how important the music was to the telling of the story. Soundtracks and arrangements were snapped up by all and sundry, and the name of the composer — Howard Shore — went up in lights.

This talk by Heath Lees, Wagner expert, pianist, and DVD presenter, will explore the fascinating links that connect Richard Wagner, the original Lord of The Ring, with Tolkien’s book, Jackson’s film, and Shore’s music. In particular, Heath reveals how Howard Shore followed Wagner’s musical legacy, by including bits of Wagner in his soundtracks, and by making free with Wagner’s so-called leitmotif — a technique that Heath explains by means of video clips, music teasers, and live piano demos.

This exhilarating talk aims to open up the world of The Ringfor Wagner-virgins while offering new horizons to those who are already Wagner-groupies.

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Sir Stamford at Circular Quay

93 Macquarie Street

Sydney, NSW 2000

Australia

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