When to see it
These events are part of the Autumn 2018 season.
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.
Brünnhilde conspires with Hagen and Gunther to take her revenge on Siegfried. Hagen kills Siegfried, and then kills Gunther so that he may keep the ring. Realizing how Siegfried was deceived, Brünnhilde lights a great funeral pyre for the hero, and rides into the flames with the ring. The Rhine bursts its banks and reclaims its gold. Valhalla, the palace of the gods, catches fire and the gods burn in the blaze.
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.
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