There is a long list of friends who willingly listened as I developed my hypotheses about Wagner, some of whom I have known since I began this project back in 1971 (and even earlier). My oldest friend, Mary Conrad (Bird) Rubino, and my cousin Susan Dapkunas (nee Taylor - an older friend yet, since we virtually grew up together), lent their sympathetic ear to my ever more involved hypotheses, and provided life-long moral encouragement. More recent friends with whom I have had lengthy and very useful discussions about my life’s work are Dotti Szymanski (nee Donelan), Karen Molloy, Judith Poole, Thomas Randall, Betsy Rhodes, Jay Moroughan, Donovan Clark, Piatt Gray, Daniel Luke, Ken Perenyi, Sebi Sohon, Joel Brown, Chad Taylor, John Jarvis, Bill Weiss, Joan Bishop, James Weaver, and Marita and Richard Rotella. Needless to say my various friends’ discussions with me do not imply any adherence on their part to the views expressed in this book. In fact, quite often, their disagreements have been of inestimable value.
I would like to make special mention of two non-professional but very astute students of Wagner who worked very closely with me for several years as I developed my interpretation of Wagner’s artworks. Dr. Allen Dunning - who has collaborated with me in developing this project by acting as my musical consultant, and without whose own endeavor to identify all the motifs and motif variants in the Ring, and to locate each instance of their occurrence within the score, so that I could indicate each occurrence at their corresponding position within Wagner’s libretto, I could never have completed my project - worked with me virtually weekly by email, from 2001 until 2005, to answer an enormously large number of questions about Wagner’s employment of musical motifs in the Ring. Our mutual friend Derrick Everett, a first class expert on Wagner in general and Wagner’s Parsifal in particular, offered enormously helpful critical, editorial advice, in remarkable detail, as I wrote my chapters on The Flying Dutchman, Tannhaeuser, and Lohengrin, as well as the Ring.
There is a long list of acknowledged, published Wagner pundits, and/or academics and publishers, who over the years have taken the time to provide critical reviews of my work, and on occasion have provided other encouragement for my never-ending project. These include Philip Winters, William Webster, Jim Holman, Dieter Borchmeyer, Nike Wagner, Paul Lawrence Rose, Elliott Zuckerman, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Bryan Magee, Barry Millington, Monte Stone, Michael Tanner, Harry Wagner, Laurence Lueck, Robert Donington, Walter Lippincott (former Pres. of Princeton Univ. Press), Speight Jenkins, and John Cerullo (Pres. of Amadeus Press).
I would especially like to thank Stewart Spencer for providing me my first opportunity for publication. As Editor of WAGNER, the scholarly publication of The Wagner Society (Britain), he provided editorial advice, and ultimately published my essay How Elsa Showed Wagner the Way to Siegfried in the May edition of 1995. With respect to this, my first published article, I am indebted to my editor Chad Taylor for exhibiting such heroic patience in working with me until we were finally able to forward a presentable, and ultimately publishable, version of this article to Stewart Spencer.
For the inestimable opportunity of seeing my work published in translation, I have to thank Ilkka Pajaanen and Markus Ilmonen, President and Vice President, respectively, of the Richard Wagner Society of Helsinki, Finland, for publishing my essay The ‘Ring’ as a Whole (translated into both Finnish and German) in the 11/04 and 4/05 editions of their scholarly journal devoted to Wagner, GRANE. Furthermore, Dalia Geffen, Founder and President of the Boston Wagner Society, has published all or part of my papers in the newsletter of the Boston