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Wagnerian having the enormous dramatic scale and intensity of an opera by the German composer Richard Wagner (1813–83). He developed an operatic genre which he called music drama, synthesizing music, drama, verse, legend, and spectacle.

Wagner was forced into exile after supporting the German nationalist uprising in Dresden in 1848; in the same year he began writing the text of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs), a cycle of four operas (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung) based loosely on ancient Germanic sagas.

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