2014: XVI

Il nome e i nomi in Richard Wagner

Parole chiave

  • Richard Wagner,
  • lyrical operas,
  • names,
  • naming,
  • non nomitatio


Richard Wagner not only wrote the musical scores of his operas but also his own libretti. As the proper names of the dramatis personae are an important part of any literary text, it is to be expected that Wagner paid special attention to his names. And this is certainly the case. He uses different means to introduce the names of his characters, but he also uses non nominatio in order to accentuate the mythical aspect of some of his protagonists. On the other hand these mythical beings can also bear different names. Wagner knows very well how to use the representative, appellative, and expressive functions of proper names. His characters employ etymological and paretymological name games and sometimes reflect on their own names. Wagner adapts mythological names to his aims and even creates new names. He has an acute sense of the social and chronological appropriateness of his names. Wagner’s true onomastic opera, however, is the romantic opera Lohengrin.Here the whole plot is motivated by the forbidden question about Lohengrin’s name. The analysis of all these aspects shows that for Richard Wagner names were much more than meaningless tags.