When to see it
These events are part of the Autumn 2018 season.
The dwarf Alberich forsakes love so that he may steal the Rhine’s gold. A ring is crafted from that gold, invested with great power. When the ring is taken from Alberich, he places on it a terrible curse.
The god Wotan is tempted by ownership of the ring – but heeds a dire warning from the goddess Erda. Instead, Wotan uses the ring to pay the giants Fafner and Fasolt for building his palace Valhalla. Alberich’s curse takes immediate effect: Fafner kills Fasolt so that he may keep the ring for himself.
Das Rheingold is the ‘preliminary evening’ of Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. The shortest of the four, it introduces the characters that will drive this magnificent drama to its epic conclusion, and the musical themes that Wagner ingeniously develops through the cycle. Das Rheingold was first performed in 1869, and the second opera Die Walküre in 1870 – before the rest of the cycle was completed, and against Wagner’s wishes that the Ring be considered a unified whole. The cycle’s first complete performance in 1876 was a momentous event in opera history.
Das Rheingold famously begins with a musical representation of the flowing river Rhine. In his 2004 production for The Royal Opera, Keith Warner sets this opening in complete darkness: as the textures of Wagner’s music gradually intensify, so this universe slowly comes into being. Much of the production draws on 20th-century imagery to depict a world at the beginning of its decline, with the nightmarish laboratories of the Nibelungs contrasting vividly with the gods’ moneyed indulgence.
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