Wagner's Ring

Making Sense of Wagner's Ring

Four free webinars introducing the largest of all operatic works

Presented by Professor Warren Bebbington

For those preparing to attend Wagner’s four-night masterpiece, or those simply keen to learn more about this magical, multi-layered work, this free series of four hour-long videos will help explain the plot, the music, the origins of the work in German and Norse sagas, and the controversies that have continued to surrounded the Ring of the Nibelung since its inception over 140 years ago.

An award-winning teacher, Professor Warren Bebbington was Director of the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music for 17 years after completing a PhD on Wagner. Using recorded excerpts, visual images from the past and present, and demonstrating at the piano, Professor Bebbington introduces the gods, giants, heroes and dwarfs that animate the Ring’s progress, and explains the meanings Wagner intended, as well as those audiences today perceive.

A message from Professor Richard Kurth
Director, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

"Thank you for your interest in these webinars introducing Wagner’s Ring. We are all the fortunate recipients of Professor Bebbington’s extensive knowledge and boundless enthusiasm!"

"Music, drama and art have many powers, including their role in bringing us together as a community, to witness the acts of performance and storytelling that bring the work to life. Wagner’s life work and legacy is a most significant testimony to this human and social need. Lectures likewise bring us together as learners and enthusiasts, to contemplate the work, share understanding, and augment the meaning of music and art in our lives and in society."

"These webinars were originally planned as public lectures. For now, the online format is our best way of gathering together to express the inspiration and energy behind the project. Owing to the COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne, the webinars could not be recorded at the Conservatorium studios with our usual technical resources as originally planned. The recordings had to be done in a domestic home, and without technical support. I trust you will understand that some aspects of the production quality are therefore not ideal. But the knowledge and enthusiasm are undiminished!"

"I am grateful to Professor Bebbington for persisting with this project under difficult circumstances, and I know you will enjoy the result."

Viewer’s Guide

Please click the link below to view a character list, synopsis, and answers to a few basic questions about Wagner’s Ring. We suggest you consult this guide while you view these webinars.

Download Viewer's Guide

Please use the player controls to navigate between the four lectures featured in this playlist, or use the list below to skip to your preferred lecture.

  1. Prologue: The Rhine Gold
  2. The Valkyrie
  3. Siegfried
  4. Twilight of the Gods