Die Sieger

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Die Sieger
Draft for an opera libretto by Richard Wagner
Willich, Casar - Richard Wagner - Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig.jpeg
Portrait of Wagner who wrote the text 1856 to 1858, c. 1862
LanguageGerman
Based onLegends of Prakriti and Ānanda

Die Sieger (The Victors; WWV 89), is a draft sketch for an opera text by Richard Wagner.

Die Sieger was drafted between 1856 and 1858, at a period when Wagner had become greatly interested in Buddhism. The fragmentary prose sketch which survives shows that it was based on legends which Wagner discovered in Eugène Burnouf's 1844 Introduction to the History of Buddhism. The story tells of the love of the outcast chandala Prakriti for the monk Ānanda. Although both are ostracised by the other monks, Buddha permits their chaste union, and allows Prakriti to join the monastic community. [1]

Writing to Marie Sayn-Wittgenstein in 1857, Wagner refers to the girl as 'Savitri' and suggests a three-act structure. [2] He further wrote about the project to Mathilde Wesendonck from Venice in 1858, comparing himself and Mathilde to Ananda and Savitri. [3]

No musical sketches for this work are known to have been undertaken. Although Wagner planned a production of Die Sieger for 1870 in his 1865 programme of proposals for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, he never progressed it; however elements of the story persist in his opera Parsifal . [4] [5]

Elements of Die Sieger were used by the British composer Jonathan Harvey in his own opera, Wagner Dream (2007).

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Ānanda was the primary attendant of the Buddha and one of his ten principal disciples. Among the Buddha's many disciples, Ānanda stood out for having the best memory. Most of the texts of the early Buddhist Sutta-Piṭaka are attributed to his recollection of the Buddha's teachings during the First Buddhist Council. For that reason, he is known as the Treasurer of the Dhamma, with Dhamma referring to the Buddha's teaching. In Early Buddhist Texts, Ānanda was the first cousin of the Buddha. Although the early texts do not agree on many parts of Ānanda's early life, they do agree that Ānanda was ordained as a monk and that Puṇṇa Mantānīputta became his teacher. Twenty years in the Buddha's ministry, Ānanda became the attendant of the Buddha, when the Buddha selected him for this task. Ānanda performed his duties with great devotion and care, and acted as an intermediary between the Buddha and the laypeople, as well as the saṅgha. He accompanied the Buddha for the rest of his life, acting not only as an assistant, but also a secretary and a mouthpiece.

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References

Notes
  1. Wagner (1995), 385-6
  2. Wagner (1987). 365-6. Letter of 4 March 1857
  3. Wagner (1987) 424-6. Letter of 5 October 1858
  4. Prose Sketch for Die Sieger in Monsalvat – the Parsifal Pages, retrieved 28 January 2012
  5. Millington (1992), 322
Sources