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Wagner Richard Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Wagner Richard Quizzes, Trivia

Richard Wagner Trivia

Richard Wagner Trivia Quizzes

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12 Richard Wagner quizzes and 145 Richard Wagner trivia questions.
1.
  'Tannhauser'    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A bit about Tannhauser, an opera by... Well that's the first question so I'm not telling you. It's a tough quiz and I recommend it only to those who have seen the opera. There's a lot of quotes (in German) from the libretto as bonus (sic!) information.
Average, 10 Qns, kissaki, Nov 15 21
Average
kissaki
Nov 15 21
416 plays
2.
  Animals in Wagner's Ring Cycle   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Wagner's four-opera cycle "Das Ring des Nibelungen" contains a number of animal characters and references. What do you know about them?
Average, 10 Qns, stedman, Nov 13 21
Average
stedman editor
Nov 13 21
440 plays
3.
  The Ultimate Wagner's Ring Cycle Quiz   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 20 Qns
Wagner's magnum opus, "Der Ring des Nibelungen", is one of the most amazing achievements in operatic history. Here are some questions I hope you will enjoy about this masterpiece.
Average, 20 Qns, fdgla, Nov 15 21
Average
fdgla
Nov 15 21
759 plays
4.
  The "Ring" According to Russell   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A quiz on British comedienne Anna Russell's hilarious "analysis" of Wagner's "Ring der Nibelungen" ("I'm not making this up, you know!"). Enjoy & Good Luck!
Average, 10 Qns, jouen58, Nov 15 21
Average
jouen58
Nov 15 21
409 plays
5.
  The REAL Lord of the Rings...    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
...is Wagner! If you love his "Ring" cycle and "Tristan" as much as I do - or even if, like Bernstein, you hate them "on your knees" - this one's for you.
Tough, 10 Qns, anselm, Nov 15 21
Tough
anselm
Nov 15 21
385 plays
6.
  Das Rheingold    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This is a quiz on "Das Rheingold", the first opera of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen".
Average, 10 Qns, askpau, Nov 15 21
Average
askpau
Nov 15 21
563 plays
7.
  Wagner: The Flying Dutchman   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The Flying Dutchman is an unusual opera as it is basically a ghost story. See what you know about the opera and the legend.
Average, 10 Qns, catamount, Nov 15 21
Average
catamount
Nov 15 21
353 plays
8.
  The REAL Lord of the Rings! (for musicos)    
Multiple Choice
 20 Qns
You've met the pupil, Tolkein - now meet the master, Wagner! This one's on my favourites, the "Ring" cycle and "Tristan", and is definitely for those who know their musical Ps and Qs.
Tough, 20 Qns, anselm, Nov 15 21
Tough
anselm
Nov 15 21
324 plays
9.
  Wagner's Minor Operas    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
By 'Minor Operas' all other operas than 'The Ring' are meant. Wagner's works are full of complicated symbols. This quiz is limited to a few basic facts.
Average, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Nov 15 21
Average
flem-ish
Nov 15 21
438 plays
10.
  Multiple Choice Quiz about Wagner's Ring    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
"Der Ring des Nibelungen" is a highly complex work. However, if you have basic knowledge on the plot and music of the Ring cycle, you should do well on this quiz (15 multiple choice questions).
Average, 15 Qns, Aitrus33, Nov 15 21
Average
Aitrus33
Nov 15 21
465 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Why does "The Flying Dutchman" go to shore in Norway?

From Quiz "Wagner: The Flying Dutchman"




11.
  Easy peasy "Tannhäuser" quiz    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here's a quiz on Richard Wagner's "Tannhäuser," an opera about a lovelorn minnesinger. References include Wikipedia and the 1982 version of the opera on DVD.
Average, 10 Qns, jsusfreak, Nov 15 21
Average
jsusfreak
Nov 15 21
214 plays
12.
  Wagner's Life    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Think you know everything about the Romantic German composer? Lets test your Knowledge!
Average, 10 Qns, Siegfried, Nov 15 21
Average
Siegfried
Nov 15 21
813 plays
Related Topics
  Classical Music [Music] (180 quizzes)

  Opera [Music] (100 quizzes)


Richard Wagner Trivia Questions

1. At the beginning of the opera, where do we find Tannhäuser?

From Quiz
Easy peasy "Tannhäuser" quiz

Answer: In Venusberg

He is seen cavorting with the goddess Venus among several love nymphs in a "place" called Venusberg (like a grotto or a cave). However, he manages to break free from his sensual desires and eventually meets up with his friends.

2. The libretto for the Flying Dutchman was written by Richard Wagner himself, but it was based on a work by which Romantic German author?

From Quiz Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Answer: Heinrich Heine

The story is found in "The Memoirs of Herrn von Schnabelewopski", but it is a much older maritime tale of a ghostly ship that is doomed to sail the ocean forever. The theme also occurs in "Pirates of the Caribbean".

3. When and where was Richard Wilhelm Wagner born?

From Quiz Wagner's Life

Answer: May 22nd, 1813, Leipzig

Wagner was born in Leipzig and studied music in Dresden.

4. Apart from writing incredibly chromatic music, something about Gesualdo (1566-1613) uncannily parallels "Tristan". What is it?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings...

Answer: He and King Mark both set traps to catch their wives "in flagrante dilecto"

Both went on fake "hunting trips", and both came back to find their wives in an uncompromising position. In Gesualdo's case, however, the outcome was different. He had his servants kill the lover while he himself stabbed his wife dozens of times, then had their bodies dumped on the steps of his ducal palace (he was Prince of Venosa and a relative of the pope, I think) to show what happens when you cross a Gesualdo. For good measure he had her child, who he suspected was her lover's rather than his, suffocated. He then went into hiding for two years, not for fear of the forces of justice, but for fear of his wife's relatives. Pleasant kinda chap, was he not?

5. Wagner's "Ring" cycle consists of four separate operas, or music dramas, as Wagner liked to call them. Who wrote the words to the operas?

From Quiz Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Wagner

Wagner felt that no one but himself should write the words, reflecting his belief that an artistic work should be the vision of one creator.

6. Who wrote this opera?

From Quiz 'Tannhauser'

Answer: Wagner

It's most definetely a Wagner opera.

7. Pretending to be impressed by Alberich's first transformation, Loge implies that it would be too difficult for him to change into something small. Alberich responds by transforming himself into what diminutive creature?

From Quiz Animals in Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Toad

Luring Alberich into changing himself into something tiny is of course all part of Loge's cunning plan, since the toad is small enough to be captured by himself and Wotan. The appearance of the toad, however it is portrayed, is generally one of the few moments in the four long operas that elicits a ripple of laughter from the audience.

8. Who is Tannhäuser's friend?

From Quiz Easy peasy "Tannhäuser" quiz

Answer: Wolfram

Wolfram is Tannhäuser's buddy. He eventually helps to break Venus' spell on him.

9. When was the opera "The Flying Dutchman" first performed?

From Quiz Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Answer: 1843

The opera premiered in the Royal Saxon Court Theatre of Dresden.

10. Who steals the Rhinegold from the Rhinemaidens?

From Quiz Das Rheingold

Answer: Alberich

The events of the Ring are set in motion by Alberich's theft of the Rhinegold and his forging of the Ring from it.

11. The "gimmick" of the magic gold of the Rhine consists of the fact that whoever will fashion a ring from it will become Master of the Universe, provided that he/she makes what terrible sacrifice?

From Quiz The "Ring" According to Russell

Answer: Renounces love

Alberich, the "excessively unattractive" dwarf who makes a pass at the Rhinemaidens and is cruelly rejected, decides to steal the gold and make the ring because "he's not going to get any love anyhow."

12. What is the name of Wagner's first Opera?

From Quiz Wagner's Life

Answer: Die Feen

In 1833 he wrote "Die Feen", an Opera about Faries. It remained mostly unheard.

13. The oboe plays the famous rising three semitone figure the first time it is heard at the very beginning of "Tristan". Which instrument plays it when that phrase is immediately repeated a minor third higher?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings! (for musicos)

Answer: clarinet

Why did Wagner not simply repeat the orchestration for the second phrase? Any suggestions? I dunno, but obviously it works! The clarinet is a smoother-sounding instrument than the sharper oboe. Perhaps it highlights the relaxing effect of the change from the dominant of a minor key (A minor) to that of its relative major; the relatively more "relaxed" feel is perhaps also heralded by the cellos' leap of a major, rather than minor, sixth.

14. Around 1850 Wagner explicity renounced a certain kind of operatic subject in favour of myth, and put this decision into practice by composing the "Ring". What kind of subject did he reject?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings...

Answer: History

More specifically, he rejected grand opera on historical subjects. He said that history was specific, whereas myth was universal, and thus better suited to musico-dramatic treatment. This rejection included his own "Lohengrin". In doing so, he went further and claimed to reject opera as a whole; he henceforth aimed at a new kind of stage work which, in the absence of a more appropriate name, he called a "drama". His justification for this new form is contained in his theoretical work "Opera and Drama" of 1852, where we find his famous (to Wagnerians, anyway!) aphorism: "...the error in the genre of Opera is this: that a Means of expression (Music) has been made the end, while the End of expression (the Drama) has been made a means..." Of course, as in so many of his utterances he was somewhat inconsistent: he wrote one of the greatest comic operas of all time, "Die Meistersinger" - firmly set in 16th century Nuremberg and using historical characters and situations - after supposedly rejecting historical subject matter.

15. The eponymous nibelung (dwarf) of the title first appears in "Das Rheingold", the first opera of the cycle. What is his name?

From Quiz Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Alberich

Alberich is the only character to appear in both the first opera of the cycle {"Rheingold"} and the last {"Gotterdammerung"}.

16. What is Tannhauser's profession?

From Quiz 'Tannhauser'

Answer: Minnessinger

Tannhauser is a knight minstrel - ein minnessinger.

17. During the first act of "Die Walkure" (the second opera in the Ring Cycle), the hero Siegmund compares himself to which creature?

From Quiz Animals in Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Wolf-cub

According to Siegmund, his father was known as "Wolfe" (Wolf), making Siegmund a "wolfing" (wolf-cub). Of course, as the music makes clear, his father was none other than Wotan, king of the gods, in one of his many disguises.

18. At the end of the Rheingold, Alberich has placed a terrible curse on the Ring, condemning all those who possess it to their deaths. The curse begins to work immediately as which character meets his end?

From Quiz Wagner's Ring

Answer: Fasolt

As the giants divide up the treasure amongst themselves, Loge slyly suggests that Fasolt surrender the gold to Fafner and retain the Ring for himself. Fafner finds this unacceptable and murders his brother for it.

19. What must the thief do in order to be able to forge the all-powerful ring from the Rhinegold?

From Quiz Das Rheingold

Answer: Renounce love

Alberich's renunciation of love in this opera is ultimately defeated, and the world is ultimately redeemed, by Brunnhilde's sacrifice for love in "Gotterdammerung", the final opera of the cycle. The other answers are also themes in the "Ring". Wotan sacrificed an eye to gain knowledge, and Siegfried defeated the dragon Fafner, who had transformed himself from a giant.

20. Who is described as a "crashing bore"?

From Quiz The "Ring" According to Russell

Answer: Wotan

Wotan, of course; he of the interminable monologues (most of them rehashing events we've already sat through at length). Fricka ("Mrs. Fricka Wotan") is a "nag", Fafner is the giant who, for unknown reasons, turns into a dragon for Part III. Loge, interestingly, doesn't make an appearance in Russell's monologue.

21. What unusual device does Wagner adopt for the upper strings in "Siegfried" Act II scene 3, during Mime's and Alberich's argument?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings! (for musicos)

Answer: col legno (play with the wood of the bow)

Yes, the strings do use pizzicato during this passage, but that's hardly an unusual device! As far as I'm aware, Wagner was one of the earlier composers to use col legno as a special feature, before its more frequent use in the twentieth century (remember the twentieth century? Of course you do.) The very first, as far as I'm aware, was Biber (1644-1704) in the first movement of his suite for string orchestra called "Battalia" (a battle piece - it contains several other unusual techniques, such as "Barok pizzicato"). Playing on the tailpiece is a bit too modern for Wagner - you'll find it in Penderecki's 1959 piece "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima" for string orchestra.

22. With which well-known fairy tale character did Wagner identify his hero Siegfried?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings...

Answer: The Boy who Set Out to Learn to Fear

Wagner wrote to Uhlig on about 10th May 1851 regarding the "lively subject" about which he, Wagner, had once written him of "the youth who sets out to 'learn what fear is' and is so stupid that he never manages to learn. Imagine how startled I was when I realised that this youth is none other than - the young Siegfried, who wins the Hoard and awakens Bruennhilde!" At least according to this letter, this was the realisation that led to the writing of "Der Junge Siegfried". ("Stupid" in the fairy tale translates into "naive" in the opera.) Of course, other fairy tales are echoed in the "Ring". The ending of "Siegfried", combined with that of "Die Walkuere", is in fact Sleeping Beauty complete with Beauty's protective terrors which are no terrors for the chosen one, while Loge gets the ring off Alberich in scene 3 of "Das Rheingold" by the same ruse that Puss-in-Boots uses on the giant. This isn't necessarily to say that Wagner used these sources directly. What it does show is how universal some themes are. "The 1001 Nights", Grimm's Fairy Tales, Wagner's "Ring" and "Tristan" - they all tell many of the same stories, sometimes in similar ways, sometimes in quite different ones. I've heard it said that there are only so many truly original stories in the world, and that every "new" story is basically a retelling of one of these. The number "so many" I've heard once as six and once as about thirty. Food for thought, no? Try this: Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice" = "Beauty and the Beast".

23. Alberich sets the action in motion by his theft of gold from the Rhine maidens. How many Rhine maidens are there?

From Quiz Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Three

According to the Rhine maidens (Woglinde, Wellgunde and Flosshilde), whoever can make a ring from the gold can rule the world.

24. In 'Lohengrin', Elsa ultimately loses her gallant knight Lohengrin by ________________________ ?

From Quiz Wagner's Minor Operas

Answer: asking him for his name, identity, parents etc.

The Swan is her lost brother Gotfried in disguise. He was changed into a swan by Elsa's enemy Ortrud. Lohengrin should not be confused with Samson. The sword, ring and horn are given to her by Lohengrin when he says goodbye to her. They are meant for Gotfried 'when he returns'. Which happens the very moment Lohengrin leaves. The Swan is replaced by a Dove.

25. Where is Tannhauser when the opera starts?

From Quiz 'Tannhauser'

Answer: Venusberg

He is trapped in earthly delight in the Venusberg - the hill of Venus.

26. In the second act of "Die Walkure", Wotan's wife, Fricka, arrives in a chariot pulled by a pair of what creatures?

From Quiz Animals in Wagner's Ring Cycle

Answer: Rams

The Ring is full of stage directions like this, making it something of a challenge to stage designers. That said, in modern productions of Wagner's opera Fricka is more likely to arrive in a stretch limousine, since it has become something of a truism to regard the gods as representatives of the evils of capitalism.

27. Who goes first in the singing contest?

From Quiz Easy peasy "Tannhäuser" quiz

Answer: Wolfram

Wolfram sings about pure love and how, like a stream of water, it is to never be disturbed.

28. "The Flying Dutchman" was cursed to sail the oceans until doomsday because he did what?

From Quiz Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Answer: Swore to attempt to round Cape Hope "forever"

Senta explains the story in her aria "Yo ho ho hey". Incidentally, Wagner heard this Norwegian sailors' call during his trip from Pillau to London. 'In bitter gale and raging storm, he once tried to round a cape; he cursed in mad fury, and swore: "Never will I give up!" Hoo! And Satan heard it! Yo ho ho hey! Hoo! Took him at his word! Yo ho ho hey! Hoo! And, damned, he now roams the sea without rest or peace!' From: http://opera.stanford.edu/Wagner/Hollander/synopsis.html

29. And what about near the beginning of "Tristan" Act II, just as the horns are fading away?

From Quiz The REAL Lord of the Rings! (for musicos)

Answer: sul ponticello (play near the bridge)

Wagner uses sul ponticello to produce a thin, "far-away" effect, to take over from the horns receding into the distance without spoiling the effect. Ricochet bowing is very much a solo effect involving bouncing the bow lightly; as far as I'm aware, Wagner never used it. Sul tasto means to play over the fingerboard, producing a thick but weak sound. I'm not aware that Wagner used this, but again I stand to be corrected. Quadruple-stopping was common quite early on in the solo violin literature, and Wagner certainly wasn't sparing with it in his orchestral writing. It doesn't actually involve playing on all four strings at once, but "breaking" rapidly across, usually from the bottom to the top.

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