Earlier today I posted a silly picture of a fat lady dressed as Brunnhilde. It got me thinking.
I was just thinking about some similarities between Wagner's Ring Cycle and the movies of Star Wars. Mostly about the music. Wagner's Ring has these little themes called "Leitmotifs" for each idea or character, and it's nowhere as clear as in the first opera, "Das Rheingold", where these themes are introduced. There's a theme for the gold, for the curse on the ring, for Freya, for the giants, for Wotan's staff, for Loge's fire, for the Nibelungen, etc. The same might be said for the first Star Wars movie made, "Star Wars", where each character gets a theme as well.
As the Ring operas progress, you get little snippets of themes, sometimes as a passing comment, or to underscore the significance of something in the action, but it's more mixed up than in the first opera, where each theme gets a full exposition.
I'm sure John Williams, as a composer, was aware of Wagner's Ring and may have even studied it in a music theory class or something.
Thinking about it further, the character Luke is a bit like Siegfried. So John Williams' Wagnerian treatment of the music fits.
Of hidden parentage, and raised by Mime the dwarf, who took him when his mother died in childbirth, Siegfried gets tired of his country bumpkin life and takes off with his father's sword to find adventure. Siegfried's father was Siegmund, a sort of anti-hero with special powers, who had met and had a one-night relationship with Sieglinde his long lost sister. Mime knew this but kept it all from Siegfried. Siegfried then kills Fafner the dragon and rescues Brunnhilde from a cage of flames, where she has been sleeping like Sleeping Beauty.
Of hidden parentage, and raised by his aunt and uncle, who took him when his mother died in childbirth, Luke gets tired of his country bumpkin life and takes off with his father's lightsaber to rescue a princess, who turns out after a bit of flirting to actually be his long lost sister. His aunt and uncle and also Obi-Wan knew all this but kept it from him. Luke's father was Anakin, a sort of anti-hero with special powers, who had a secret marriage with Padme. When Luke finds Leia in her cell, he wakes her up from a nap.
There is even some similarity between Wagner and George Lucas, in that Wagner had a theater built to his specs that could fit the gigantic orchestra required for the Ring Cycle but that would still allow the singers to be heard singing at normal volume; and Wagner also started the practices of having the orchestra in a pit and the theater dark during the performance. Lucas had to invent all kinds of movie innovations to bring his world to life, and eventually had a whole moviemaking campus.
And then of course there's Bugs and Elmer...
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