Siegfried Online

8th July – 9th September 2020

An online course studying in depth the third opera in Richard Wagner’s Ring presented by David Nice comprising ten weekly talks on
Wednesdays 8th JULY to 9th SEPTEMBER 2.30 to 4.30.

The talks will be presented through ZOOM. Participants are recommended to open an Account at or download the App, but this is not essential as a link will be provided (on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning) for each talk, together with the ID and password to gain access.

The course is open to members of the Wagner Society of Scotland, of other UK Wagner Societies and of non-UK Wagner Societies affiliated to the RWVI (International Association of Wagner Societies.

The fee for the complete course is £100, which is payable per device not per person.

Please download, complete and return the booking form with payment.


8th July – Session 1: Siegfried in context: a general introduction

15th July – Session 2: Into the woods: introducing Siegfried and Mime (Act 1 Scene 1)

22nd July – Session 3: Riddle-me-ree: Mime and the Wanderer (Act 1 Scene 2)

29th July – Session 4: Forging the sword: the glorious climax (Act 1 Scene 3)

5th August – Session 5: Opening up the picture: Wotan and Alberich, Siegfried and Mime (Act 2 Scenes 1 and 2.i)

12th August – Session 6: Forest murmurs and dragon slaying; Siegfried in two modes (Act 2 Scene 2.ii)

19th August – Session 7: A come-uppance and a going-forward: Mime’s death and Siegfried heading for the mountain (Act 2 Scene 3).

26th August – Session 8: More of the elemental: Wotan and Erda, Wotan and Siegfried (Act 3 Scenes 1 and 2.i)

2nd September – Session 9: Journey through the fire: interlude and Siegfried’s mountain-top soliloquy (Act 3 Scene 2.ii and 3.i)

9th September – Session 10: Love finds a way: the Siegfried-Brünnhilde duet (Act 3 Scene 3.ii)

*All Sessions are recorded and can be sent through Dropbox should you miss any*

David Nice has been writing professionally about music since 1985, when he worked for a year as Assistant Editor of Music and Musicians. As a freelancer, he became one of the music critics on The Guardian in the last years of the Greenfield regime, and shared very pleasurable duties with Edward Seckerson on the short-lived Sunday Correspondent. Happily, his relationship with Radio 3 has proved longer term. He has now contributed 27 ‘Building a Library’ programmes to Saturday’s CD Review and reviews CDs on a monthly basis for the BBC Music Magazine. His interest in Russian music led to a study of Russian language and the first volume of his Prokofiev biography, From Russia to the West 1891-1935, published in 2003 by Yale University Press. His other books include short studies of Richard Strauss, Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and the history of opera. He now divides his professional time between writing, broadcasting and lecturing, including his popular Opera Courses at Pushkin House. He has sung, acted and played the oboe quite a bit. Operatic roles have included Galanthus in Vaughan Williams’ Poisoned Kiss (ouch!) as well as bits of Schaunard, Don Alfonso, Melitone and Dandini.

Suggested Reading

Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington (eds): Selected Letters of Richard Wagner (Dent) Worth buying a second-hand copy – the most valuable first-hand account of how Siegfried came to be.

Deryck Cooke: I Saw the World End (Oxford) Sadly, Cooke died before he could reach a fuller description of Siegfried’s sources and the music, but this is still the best, albeit unfinished, introduction to The Ring as a whole.

Joachim Köhler: Richard Wagner: The Last of the Titans (Yale) For me, the most fascinating albeit (as usual) slanted biography.

Bryan Magee: Wagner and Philosophy (Penguin) Not essential for Siegfried, but always compelling and lucidly written.

Barry Millington: Wagner (Dent Master Musicians) Still the best short introduction to the life and the music. I don’t know Barry’s bigger study.

Friedrich Spotts: Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival (Yale) I bought this from Joy’s selection last year, and it’s magnificent – superbly illustrated and revelatory.


tr. Lee M Hollander: The Poetic Edda (Texas) Major source for Siegfried.

tr. Jean I. Young: Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda (California) Short and to the point.

tr. Ian Cumpsey: The Saga of Didrik of Bern (Skadi Press) Only bought this earlier this year: much revelatory detail which differs from the Eddas.

tr. Jessie L. Byock: The Saga of the Volsungs (Penguin) Wagner’s main source for Die Walküre, but it continues onwards to the Siegfried myth.

tr. A. T Hatto: The Nibelungenlied (Penguin) Only the bare bones of Siegfried’s history before the events of Götterdämmerung, told in flashback, so of marginal interest.

Score: the full Dover edition is the one I always use. Not essential, and no score-reading skills necessary, but it will enrich your experience when we’re listening to sound excepts to follow along.