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The Story

Alberich’s son Hagen wants the ring. Siegfried has given it to Brünnhilde as a token of his love. Hagen gives Siegfried a potion that makes him forget Brünnhilde, and convinces Siegfried to win Brünnhilde on behalf of Hagen’s half-brother Gunther. Siegfried gives Brünnhilde to Gunther and takes the ring for himself.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)

Background

Götterdämmerung is the fourth and final work of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Though sequentially it comes last, it was in fact Wagner’s starting point: Siegfried’s death was his first inspiration, the three previous operas leading to that climactic event. It took Wagner 26 years to complete Götterdämmerung and it had its premiere in 1876, at the first performance of the complete cycle at the inaugural Bayreuth Festival. It closes the Ring with music of great power and complexity.

Götterdämmerung moves from the mythical landscape of the previous operas to a world more akin to our own, as Siegfried journeys down the Rhine to the deceitful world of the Gibichungs. In Keith Warner’s 2006 production for The Royal Opera, the impending fall of the gods is reflected in the blackened, apocalyptic landscape of Act III. By the opera’s end, world order has been restored – but at a devastating cost.

News and features

  1. 10 of opera's greatest soprano roles

    15 September 2016

    From the Queen of the Night to Turandot by way of Norma and Brünnhilde, we round up some of opera’s most devilishly difficult soprano roles.

On Wikipedia

Valhalla in flames, in an 1894 depiction by Max Brückner, one of the original set designers for the opera.

Götterdämmerung (; Twilight of the Gods), WWV 86D, is the last in Richard Wagner's cycle of four music dramas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung, or The Ring for short). It received its premiere at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 17 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring. The title is a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the burning, immersion in water, and renewal of the world. However, as with the rest of the Ring, Wagner's account diverges significantly from his Old Norse sources.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Götterdämmerung, available under a Creative Commons license.