This excellent study of Wagner's ring cycle brings ideas from many different disciplines and integrates them into a scholarly and thought provoking book. Although the writing is clear and direct, it is conceptually and emotionally dense and is best taken in short chunks. This is a book which can be read over and over again and can be returned to as a reference.
In structure, the book describes each scene of the whole Ring Cycle in sequence. The basic structure and elements of the scene are described, annotated with detailed comments about the music, including a discussion of the various 'leitmotifs'. The author illustrates how the meaning of the leitmotifs changes in different scenes, especially when they are transformed or combined with other themes. He also illustrates how Wagner's own views on music and his bigraphical details may have influenced the structure and themes of the Ring Cycle, discusses the various sources from which Wagner drew the myths used in the operas and how the operas themselves developed over time.
All of this is given an added layer of structure, meaning and coherence by using the concepts of Jungian Depth Psychology, including archetypes, the concept of the self as an organising principle and the Jungian concepts of transformation and change (especially the emergence of the conscious mind from a state of unconsciousness).
There is an appendix of musical themes (leitmotifs) in standard musical notation.
I am now buying a new copy of this book because my previous copy has worn out (although the binding is relatively robust)and I am delighted that it is still in print. It is a book which both desrves and rewards study!