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Siegfried

29 September—31 October 2018
Main Stage

The third opera in Richard Wagner’s epic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen revels in its depiction of heroism even as it sets up the cycle’s dramatic conclusion.

When to see it

The Story

Siegfried, the child of Siegmund and Sieglinde, has been raised by Alberich’s brother Mime. Mime plans to use Siegfried to take back the ring from Fafner. But, as he grows up, Siegfried rebels against his dubious guardian.

Siegfried kills both Fafner and Mime, and retrieves the ring. A woodbird tells him of a woman surrounded by fire. Siegfried discovers Brünnhilde and the two fall in love.

Background

Siegfried is the ‘second evening’ and third opera in Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Wagner broke off composition at the end of Act II of Siegfried to write Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, returning to Siegfried seven years later. Elements of these two operas feed into Siegfried: it features the Ring cycle’s most light-hearted music, in its depiction of the ebullient young Siegfried, and also its most ecstatic love duet, as Brünnhilde and Siegfried discover each other. Added to these is a wondrous celebration of the natural world.

Keith Warner’s 2005 production for The Royal Opera securely positions Siegfried within the cycle’s over-arching narrative of the decline of the gods. Siegfried and Mime’s forge is set against a crashed aeroplane, evocation of Wotan’s failed ambitions. As with the other operas of the cycle, recurring images that suggest the DNA helix spiral through Siegfried – representatives of an ongoing life force whose strength will outlast the gods’.

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