This is one of the more challenging aspects of the text. As they were closer in time to the text, Wagner’s original readership would probably have found the references in Oper und Drama to 19th C philosophy a little easier to retrieve than modern audiences. Also, Wagner wrote for a literary and philosophical audience, not just musicians. My research shows that my prime audience is likely to be musicologists and those generally interested in German culture.
I have to say that, although I had heard of Kant, Feuerbach and Schlegel, I couldn’t have told you much about them and my knowledge of Greek Drama is verging on the embarrassing! However, as a German and Music graduate, I am probably fairly typical of my target audience, so I need to consider whether to give them additional help with the philosophical aspects of the text.
An additional problem for a translator is that, as this is a semi-literary text, I need to respect the language in it: that is, I can’t translate for information alone, I need to consider the style, too. A difficult balancing act!