Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Das Rheingold. It was last on stage 24 September—26 October 2012 as part of the Autumn 2012/13 season.
The dwarf Alberich steals the Rhinegold, guarded by the daughters of the Rhine, and forges a ring that brings him infinite power. Wotan, ruler of the gods, plans to seize the dangerous ring – but to what end?
Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen was both the consummation of German Romantic opera and the beginning of a whole new style of opera-music drama. It lasts over fifteen hours in its entirety and provides an unparalleled musical and dramatic experience. Das Rheingold was conceived as a ‘prelude’ to the cycle. It was first performed in Munich in 1869.
Das Rheingold begins with a musical representation of the river Rhine – envisaged in Keith Warner’s production as a depiction of the Big Bang. The destructive power of the ring is expressed using images from 20th-century science, such as the dwarf Alberich’s nightmarish, underground laboratories. In contrast, the gods are a dying breed: their foppish costumes and mountain-top hall are inspired by the late-Victorian period. Musical highlights include Wotan and Loge’s descent to Nibelheim, accompanied by the resounding sound of 18 anvils, and the gods’ triumphant entrance to Valhalla, which is tragically undercut by the sound of the mournful Rhinedaughters lamenting their lost gold.
News and features
24 September 2012
As the curtain goes up on Keith Warner's production, a guide to Wagner's epic operatic cycle.
Das Rheingold (About this sound pronunciation ; The Rhinegold), WWV 86A, is the first of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen ('The Ring of the Nibelung'). Das Rheingold premiered at the National Theatre Munich on 22 September 1869, with August Kindermann in the role of Wotan, Heinrich Vogl as Loge, and Karl Fischer as Alberich. Wagner wanted this work to premiere as part of the entire cycle, but was forced to allow the performance at the insistence of his patron King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The work was first performed as part of the complete cycle on 13 August 1876, in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus.