This brief chapter addresses the decline of staging Greek tragedy with music during the second half of the nineteenth century. This decline can be attributed to shifting attitudes toward classical antiquity shaped by Friedrich Nietzsche and to some degree Wagner himself. The latter’s claims for a German Gesamtkunstwerk in the mold of Greek tragedy were bolstered by Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, which not only challenged the prevailing view of antiquity by underscoring the Dionysian aspect of Greek life but also singled out Wagner’s music dramas as the modern-day representative of classical tragedy. It was in this climate that the stage music for Greek tragedy composed during the middle of the century and the kind of productions in which it had been featured began increasingly to be seen as outmoded examples of a development that was too closely tied to the court and that was largely blind to this Dionysian impulse.
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