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[humanities.music.composers.wagner] Wagner General FAQ
Section - R. Who were the Herodias and Gundryggia referred to in 'Parsifal'?

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At the beginning of the second act of 'Parsifal' the sorcerer Klingsor
conjures Kundry out of her death-like sleep, recalling that she has been
both Herodias and Gundryggia.  This is a reference to earlier lives in
Kundry's cycle of existence.

The historical Herodias was the wife of the tetrarch Philip and later of
his brother Herod Antipas. She is mentioned in the New Testament as the
cause of the death of John the Baptist. Herodias and her daughter became
the subject of several poetic and dramatic treatments during the
nineteenth century, including Heine's poem 'Atta Troll', Flaubert's
novella 'Herodias' and later Wilde's play 'Salome'. Herodias was
infamous for her incestuous marriage and her contempt for religion, as
Wagner knew from reading Renan's 'Life of Jesus'.  Although she belonged
to the ruling family of Judea, Herodias was neither Jewish by race or by
religion.

The name Gundryggia most likely was invented by Wagner. It is a play on
the name of Gunn, one of the favourite valkyries of Odin (=Wotan). The
connection between Herodias and Gunn is that in different versions of
the same folk tradition, they ride with the Wild Hunt. In Germanic folk
legend Herodias became identified with Frau Holda, who was variously
equated to the goddesses Diana or Venus. The identification with Diana
was recalled by Heine in his 'Atta Troll'.

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Top Document: [humanities.music.composers.wagner] Wagner General FAQ
Previous Document: Q. What new productions are planned for the Bayreuth Festival?
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM