The Ring of the Nibelung

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The Ring of the Nibelung is a four-part opera cycle by Richard Wagner , for which he wrote the text, composed the music and provided detailed scenic instructions. The tetralogy is regarded as Wagner's opus summum : Wagner worked on this major work from 1848 to 1874 with interruptions. With a performance of about 16 hours (one evening before and three days), an orchestral line-up of over 100 musicians (including 6 harps and 4 tenor or bass tubers that Wagner had specially made) and with 34 soloists (plus male and female choir) it is one of the most extensive musical stage works of all. Under the direction of the composer, the entire tetralogy (also called The Ring for short ) was performed for the first time in August 1876 in the Bayreuth Festival Theater. The musical direction was Hans Richter . The work is also called a trilogy , because in this perspective only the festival days count.

Siegfried ( Heinrich Gudehus ) forges Notung

The tetralogy consists of:

History of origin

The first ideas for Wagner's "Nibelungenwerk" go back to the year 1843, when Wagner was court conductor in Dresden and a. dealt intensively with the German sagas , the Nordic Edda , Greek mythology and the Grail myth. In 1848 Wagner wrote (after he had completed his opera Lohengrin ) a summary of his mythological studies with the title Die Wibelungen, Weltgeschichte aus der Sage, as well as a first draft of prose entitled The Nibelungen Myth, a draft for a drama . Wagner's intention was a critical examination of human society, for which he - based on the Greek tragedy  - used the Germanic world of gods as a template. The Germanic hero and “free man” Siegfried , like Prometheus, was supposed to fight against the established gods and, through a common redemption death with Brünnhilde , initiate a better, more natural order. Power and capital (symbolized in ring and gold), contracts and fraud , rebellion and failure of a hero are the archetypal themes that Wagner deals with in his musical drama. In this way, he combines heroic sagas and myths of gods into a drama of modern significance and immense proportions, in which not only seven murders occur, a hero is conceived by incest and, finally, the suicide of a lover is celebrated, but also the world goes down in a sea of ​​flames and a flood to make way for a new order, thus evoking the cycle of life that begins anew.

Wagner in 1853 in Zurich, when he and the composition of the ring began

Originally Wagner only wanted to work on the well-known legend under the title Siegfrieds Tod (i.e. the later poem of Götterdämmerung ) in a musical and dramatic way. After he had finished the text book on Siegfried's death in November 1848 and tried to compose it, he realized that too much prehistory was missing, which was only epically inserted into the drama , namely in the story of the Norns . Because of his involvement in the Dresden May Uprising of 1849, Wagner had to flee to Zurich and lived there for almost ten years in exile. In 1852 he began work on his "Nibelungenwerk" there; The first ideas arose during a cure in the Albisbrunn cold water sanatorium on Lake Zurich. As a supplement to the first part, he wrote The Young Siegfried (later only called Siegfried ). Because a large part of the fable was still relegated to prehistory, Wagner finally wrote, "working his way backwards", Das Rheingold (original title: Der Raub des Rheingoldes ) and finally Die Walküre . He realized early on: “With my conception, I am stepping out of all reference to today's theater and audience, forever breaking with the formal present”. He developed the idea of a total work of art and stage festival play, which, according to one consideration on the banks of the Rhine festivalnight like is perform, "then at Rheine I open a theater, and upload to a great dramatic festivals one: then After years of preparation I lead in the course all my work in four days. "

Wagner in 1871 in Tribschen, shortly before the ring completed

Wagner's text version comprises around 700 handwritten pages and was mainly created in Zurich. Lively correspondence with his friends Theodor Uhlig , August Röckel and Franz Liszt documents the development of the ring and clarifies Wagner's intentions. On February 16, 1853, Wagner presented his work to his friends and the public for the first time in a reading on four evenings in the Zurich Hotel Baur au Lac. A little later he set to work on the composition, starting again chronologically with the first scene of the Rheingold . Until March 1857 Wagner composed on his Ring and came to the second act of Siegfried . For various reasons he interrupted his work; he was only able to take it up again (with the support of the Bavarian King Ludwig II ) in 1869 in Tribschen on Lake Lucerne. In August 1872 he completed the last orchestral sketches for Götterdämmerung in Bayreuth and - after many variations - finally settled on the final text known today. In the form of a personal dedication, he informed his royal commissioner and wrote to him on his 27th birthday on August 25, 1872:

Complete the eternal work!
As in a dream I wore it,
as my will showed,
what anxious years
hid the ripening man's breast, from winter-night pains
of love and the forces of spring
drove it towards the day:
There it stands proudly on
display , as a bold royal building shone 'the world is splendid!

The entire score was only completed shortly before the premiere at the Festival in 1876. Wagner understood text and music as a unit that was primarily intended to address the “ feeling ” of the audience. So he used all-in- one rhymes that are on the one hand "meaningful" and catchy with just a few words (although they are also suitable for parody due to their strangeness ), on the other hand they can be set to music and singed. With the help of more than 100 musical leitmotifs (Wagner always spoke of memory motifs with which "thoughts" can also be expressed) and a new type of instrumentation , the composer succeeded in achieving a complexity of the musical drama that had never been achieved before.

The plot

The chronological plot in the ring does not completely coincide with the plot of the four individual, successive operas. Some storylines are only told, but do not appear as a plot even in the operas. For example, the mythical beginning of the tetralogy is told by the three Norns at the beginning of the last part, Götterdämmerung . In this summary, the plot is “told” chronologically in a fairytale-like style, using quotations, language images and scene descriptions from the original text, and references to prominent orchestral parts and interpretation aids.

The roles

The solo vocal parts in the order of their appearance on the stage

  role Pitch Function in the act Rheingold Valkyrie Siegfried Götterdämmerung
01 Woglinde soprano Rhine daughters guarding the gold of the Rhine
02 Wellgunde Mezzo-soprano
03 Floßhilde Old
04th Alberich baritone Loveless "night album", robber of the Rhine gold, owner of the magic ring and the Tarn helmet, with whose help he ruled the realm of the Nibelungs . He is the "proletarian" and opponent of Wotan. It is not certain whether he will survive the end of the tetralogy .
05 Wotan baritone God, nature violator, power man and ruler of the world, "light albums", he created the laws that are carved into the treaty spear cut from the world ash , and had the castle of gods in Valhalla built to consolidate his power. Is also on the move as a forest and hiker. With his power politics - he does not keep his own laws - the gods and with them the existing world order will perish.
06th Fricka Mezzo-soprano Wife of Wotan, guardian of marriage and morals; Sister of the gods Freia, Donner and Glad.
07th Freia soprano Goddess of eternal youth and guardian of the apples that prevent the gods from aging.
08th thunder baritone God of violence and anger, his attribute is the hammer.
09 Glad tenor Ruler of rain and sunshine.
10 Lodge tenor Fire tamed by the gods, now demigod and confidante of Wotan, whom he appreciates because of his cunning mind.
11 Fasolt bass Honestly working giants who build Valhalla for the gods. After they quarrel over the distribution of the wages, Fafner kills his brother Fasolt out of greed for gold. Fafner then transforms into a dragon, as which he guards the Nibelungenhort from now on.
12 Fafner bass
13 mime tenor Wise blacksmith, Alberich's brother, forges the tarn helmet.
14th Erda Old Mother of the Norns, "the world's wisest woman" and Wala (seer), is later impregnated by Wotan and thus mother of Valkyrie Brünnhilde.
15th Siegmund tenor From the tribe of the Wälsungen , a son of Wotan, who conquered the Notung sword .
16 Sieglinde soprano Siegmund's twin sister, believed lost, who becomes his lover.
17th Hunding bass Enemy of Siegmund and the sinister husband of Sieglinde.
18th Brünnhilde soprano Daughter of Wotan and Erda. Wotan's favorite daughter and preferred valkyrie.
19th Gerhilde soprano The eight Valkyries, Brünnhilde's sisters. Bring the fallen heroes to Valhalla.
20th Ortlinde soprano
21st Waltraute Mezzo-soprano
22nd Sword line Old
23 Helmwige soprano
24 Siegrune Mezzo-soprano
25th Grimgerde Old
26th Roßweiß Mezzo-soprano
27 Siegfried tenor Wild son of the Wälsungen Sieglinde and Siegmund and thus the grandson of Wotan. Forges Notung anew, kills Fafner and Mime, wins the Nibelungen treasure , awakens Brünnhilde and takes her as his wife.
28 A forest bird soprano Show young Siegfried the way to Brünnhilde.
29 The Norns soprano Three wise women who weave in world events, daughters of Erda.
30th Mezzo-soprano
31 Old
32 Gunther baritone Leader of the Gibichungen on the Rhine.
33 Good rune soprano Gunther's sister falls in love with Siegfried.
34 Hagen bass Alberich's pale son and Gunther's half-brother.

The history

In a mythical state of nature in the middle of a primeval forest, the world ash (in Germanic mythology: Yggdrasil ) stands as the epitome of a sacred order. In its shadow a source (“wisdom whispering”) rises symbolically from the root of the sacred order, bringing forth eternal wisdom. In the womb of the earth, in a “misty tomb”, Erda, the original mother, “the world's wisest woman”, rests in a “knowing sleep”. A connection goes from it to the three Norns , who each have a rope looped around the world ash and sing of the primal meaning of the world.

“A bold God”, Wotan, who after the end of puberty longed for new adventures (“As a young love, lust faded, my courage demanded power, raged by sudden desires, I won the world”), goes to the world ash and the source, in order to bring oneself into possession of wisdom and thus power through a drink from the source. He sacrifices one of his eyes for it. Wotan breaks a strong branch out of the world ash and shapes it into the shaft of a spear. In this shaft he cuts rune signs as symbols for his own laws, because his intention is to create a world order not through force but through contracts. He also managed to tame the fire of the demigod Lodge. The divine host also includes Wotan's wife Fricka, the goddess and guardian of marriage and custom, and her siblings Freia, Donner and Froh.

All this is announced by the Norns at the beginning of the “third day” of the Ring (Götterdämmerung) . They will also report that the world ash became sick and perished from the wound made by Wotan. Nature has been damaged by human action:

Run in long times
the wound consumed the forest;
the leaves fell fallow,
the tree starved.

In order to demonstrate and consolidate his power, Wotan pursues the construction of a castle and, on the advice of Loges, obliges the righteous giants Fafner and Fasolt to build it for him. He will later name the castle Valhalla . As a reward he promised the giants Freia, the goddess of eternal youth. She tends a garden full of golden apples, from which the gods eat daily and thus ensure their youth.

the Rheingold

Orchestra: 136 bars in E flat major, mystical beginning of the tetralogy. The orchestral prelude begins with a “humming sound”, with soft bass strings, which pass the sound onto other instrumentsvia the bassoon and lead overto the Rheingold motifin a “wave crescendo ”.

  • 1st scene: At the bottom of the Rhine

The three Rhine daughters (mermaids) Woglinde, Wellgunde and Floßhilde playfully guard the Rhine gold at the behest of their father. The laughing game of the water girls is interrupted by Alberich, a Nibelung who rises from the depths and watches the girls with greedy eyes. First he tries to please one of the mermaids by asking and soliciting. The Rhine daughters seem to respond to it, but then at the last moment laughingly withdraw from his arms. This irritates Alberich to anger and he tries to make the women submissive by force, which he, who can only climb while the girls swim skillfully, fails.

The sun rises and lets the Rheingold shine, the girls swim around it with loud cheers (shining Rheingold motif of the orchestra). Alberich, fascinated by the sheen of the metal, asked the mermaids about the importance of gold. They recklessly tell him that with gold, “immense power” and the rule of the world could be bestowed on those who “cut the ring out of the Rhine gold”. However, that can only be done by someone who "renounces power of love ". They have no worries about the “lustful nightmare” because it seems to be the least willing to be able to do without the favor of women. But Alberich, angry about the mockery that the mermaids had made of him, and probably also knowing that he would not be successful with other women because of his ugly appearance, defiantly renounces love, with the ulterior motive of having lust with gold to be able to buy .

The world inheritance is my own through you!
I don't force love
but cunningly do I force lust?
I put out the light for you;
snatch the gold from the reef,
forge the avenging ring:
because hear the tide -
so I curse love!

Alberich forcibly tears the gold from the rock and has taken the first step to want to rule the world with cunning and violence - without love. He becomes Wotan's "opponent". The mermaids are dismayed at the loss of the gold.

  • 2nd scene: Free area on mountain heights

At the same time, in a place high above the Rhine, Wotan and Fricka wake up from their sleep. Valhalla shines in the glow of the rising sun. Over his delight in the magnificent fortress, Wotan forgets the wages he owes the giants for it. Fricka has to worry about reminding him. But Wotan comforts her, trusting Loge, who advised him to make the deal. Freia flees quickly from the giants who are demanding their wages. Wotan jokes the agreement that Freia should be this reward and advises the giants to think of something else. They refuse and remind Wotan that his laws would no longer apply if he himself broke them. In the meantime Donner and Glad have arrived. They try to force the giants to renounce by threatening violence; but Wotan resists the argument. He has to keep his laws, on which his own power is built, for better or for worse. Freia already thinks she is lost when Loge appears.

Wotan reminds Loge of his promise to "settle the bad deal". He replied, however, that he had only promised to try everything in his power - “But that would find what never comes along, what never succeeds, how could that be vowed?” Donner and Glad, they weren't anyway are good at speaking to Lodge, become aggressive. However, Wotan holds them back. He suspects there is still a solution to his situation behind Loge's problem. Loge says that he tried everywhere to find someone who would leave love for gold. However, "where strength only moves, ... in water, earth and air, nothing wants to leave love and woman". He only found one who swore off love: Alberich. He describes the incident, how he came to the coveted gold and gained power. Fafner and Fasolt suspect that they too could suffer from this new power and consult each other. Fafner persuades his loving and tender-hearted brother to take the gold of the Nibelungs instead of Freias and thus to exchange love for gold here too.

Wotan is also attracted by the magic of gold. He wants to win it himself; but not to pass it on to the giants. They initially take Freia with them, against the objection of their brothers, as a pledge - with the announcement that they will come back towards evening to exchange them for the gold. With the loss of Freia, the gods quickly lose color and freshness. The source of their youth has been taken from them. Only Loge cares little, since Freia thought little of him in the past, and he mocks the gods. He cunningly advises Wotan to steal the Nibelungen treasure in order to win back Freia: “What a thief stole, you steal from the thief: was it easier to get one's own?” Wotan is in a quandary. Contracts or not, he decides on the “lesser evil”, the stealing of gold. With Loge he makes his way down to Nibelheim and “swings” with him through the “sulfur chasm”.

Orchestra interlude : trip to “Nibelheim's nocturnal empire”.

  • 3rd scene: Underground chasm

Alberich has now become the ruler of the Nibelungs and lives with his people in the depths of the earth. Wotan and Loge first meet Mime, Alberich's brother and masterly blacksmith. With the power of the ring, Alberich forced him to forge a camouflage helmet with which he (Alberich) is now everywhere and whips all Nibelungs, including Mime, to work so that they can pile up the Nibelung hoard for him. When Wotan and Loge arrive, Mime groans from the beatings of his brother, who can make himself invisible at will (“night and fog, no one is the same”).

Alberich appears and sees his brother together with the strangers. He recognizes Wotan and Loge, "the wandering couple", and announces a bad end to the "light albums", the gods: Once he has collected enough treasures, he wants to buy heroes, storm Walhall's heights and rule the world tear. Then may what the Rhine daughters denied him come true:

Because you men serve my power first,
your pretty women - whom my free one disdains -
the dwarf forces himself to lust, love does not laugh at him.

Wotan is about to start out indignantly, when Loge advises moderation. He resorted to the ruse: They came to convince themselves of what everyone is saying in amazement about Nibelheim, namely that there is tremendous treasure here and that the mighty Alberich can transform into any animal at will. Alberich feels flattered and accepts Loge's request to transform himself into a huge monster. Loge goes along with the theater and breaks out into loud screams of fear at the sight of the monster. With a trembling voice he pays tribute to the reappearing Alberich. Alone - he is not yet completely convinced - whether Alberich could turn into a very small animal? Alberich mocks the doubting person and after a short time appears in the shape of a toad. Loge has now outwitted Alberich. He and Wotan quickly grab the toad and tear off its cloak of invisibility. Alberich is trapped. They tie him up and quickly take him up to the hill above the Rhine.

  • 4th scene: Free area on mountain heights

Alberich is humiliated by the gods. In order to save his life, he not only has to have the whole Nibelungen hoard dragged in by his people - gagged and tied up by the gods to his disgrace - but also to hand over the magic hat and ring. No sooner is he free than he curses the ring in immeasurable fury:

How by curse he told me that this ring be cursed!
His gold gave me power without measure,
now his magic begets death to him who bears it!
No happy man should rejoice in him;
let its light shine smile on no happy man!
Whoever owns it see the worry
and if you don't have it, envy gnaws!
Everyone craves his good
but nobody enjoy being of use!

Wotan does not pay attention to this curse ("did you hear his love greeting?") And puts the stolen ring on his finger; he is blinded by the magic of gold. Fasolt and Fafner appear with Freia, and Fricka, Donner and Froh hurry up too. The giants demand the Nibelungen treasure and demand that Freia be covered with so much gold that she can no longer be seen. To this end, the camouflage helmet must also be added, later also the ring, as Fafner wants. Wotan, who is already under the spell of the power of the ring, refuses to hand it over. He accepts that the giants will then continue Freia forever. The primal wise Erda appears from the depths. She warns Wotan of the pernicious power of the ring. Wotan suspects that the "primordial mother" knows more than she is ready to testify. He wants to grab her, follow her into the ground, but is held back by Fricka and Froh. He thinks about it and hands over the ring. And Alberich's curse is already revealed in a terrible way: no sooner does the ring belong to the giants than an argument breaks out between them. Fafner kills his brother Fasolt and snatches the ring from him.

A brooding atmosphere hangs over the scene and lets no more joy arise. Donner, the god of thunderstorms, pulls the “sultry vapor” together and releases the “cloudy pressure” through lightning. Then he asks his brother Froh to build a bridge from the plateau to the castle: a rainbow. Wotan names the castle Valhalla and asks Fricka to follow him there. Lodge, who already foresees the coming end of the gods ("They rush to their end, who think they are so strong in existence ..."), holds back when the gods set out. From the depths of the Rhine valley the Rhine daughters lament : “Give us the gold, the pure, back!” Angrily, Wotan orders Loge to silence the complainants, whereupon Loge cynically advises them to “in of the gods' new splendor ”. While the gods, confident of victory and complacent, move into their new center of power Valhalla with bombastic music, the Rhine daughters complain warningly:

It is only trustworthy and faithful in the depths:
what is happy up there is false and cowardly!

Intermediate story

Wotan, who is still thinking of the warning Erda, swings "into the lap of the world" to find out more about his fate. Erda announces a shameful end to him. Wotan wants to avoid it and has a plan. He defeats Erda "with love spell"; she gives birth to his daughter Brünnhilde. Through other women, who are not named, Wotan becomes the father of eight girls, the Valkyries. You will, so to speak, become his "bodyguard" and are supposed to collect fallen heroes in Valhalla in order to be prepared for the expected attack by Alberich. Thus Wotan was able to build a protective wall to protect his power.

But one thing Wotan is afraid of is that Alberich will win back the ring that Fafner currently owns, who has turned into a dragon and guards his treasure in a cave unused: "Then Valhalla would be lost." Alberich could then turn Wotan's own heroes against him . That is why Wotan had already considered snatching the ring from Fafner, but "I am master by contracts, I am now servant to contracts!" He cannot act against his own laws ("I caught myself in my own fetters"). There is only one way out for him: for a person to rise up against him, the God, and dissolve the order he himself has created. But as God he cannot and must not beget and guide this “free person”: “because the free person must create himself”. But if, as a simple “person”, he had a successor, couldn't he act freely in his favor?

With this "ulterior motive" he testifies to the siblings Siegmund and Sieglinde as an unrecognized god, as "Wälse", with a human woman and lives with them in the forest. He raises his son to be a courageous man and promises him that in the hour of greatest need he will find a magic sword - which he called Notung - with which he would win a decisive battle. One day Wotan and Siegmund return from the hunt and find their hut burned, infected by enemies, their mother dead and Sieglinde abducted. For many years they both live alone in the "wild forest" and are feared in the whole area because of their strength and success.

Sieglinde has meanwhile been sold by her robbers as a bride to Hunding, whose clan lives nearby. On the wedding evening, while Sieglinde is pondering sadly, Wotan, disguised as a hiker, enters the hut. Nobody dares stand against him. He thrusts his sword into the trunk of the ash tree in the middle of the room, up to the hilt. The wanderer announced that this weapon should belong to him who can pull it out of the trunk. Sieglinde suspects who the stranger is. All wedding guests try their hand at the blade after Wotan's disappearance. Nobody succeeds.

When another attack occurs in the forest, Siegmund is separated from his father. Obviously, Wotan deliberately arranged it that way, because Siegmund is supposed to find his way without divine support. Siegmund alone is now looking for connection in human society. He “is pushed to men and women”. But he is always ostracized. One day, when he is helping a girl who is about to be married to an unloved man against her will, an argument breaks out. In the fight, Siegmund slays the girl's family and is then persecuted by members of the clan.

The Valkyrie

Orchestra: thunderstorm and escape of Siegmund

  • 1. Elevator: The interior of a living room

Siegmund flees through the forest until he finally, at the end of his strength, discovers a hut, penetrates and falls to the ground. A woman is alone in the hut, sees him and provides him with water. It is Sieglinde, his twin sister. They don't recognize each other yet. Hunding enters and looks at the stranger in amazement. Sieglinde explains to him what happened. Hunding immediately noticed the resemblance of the twins: “The glistening worm also shines out of his eye.” He asks Siegmund to confess who he is. After some hesitation, he tells his story. The matter comes to a head when it turns out that Hunding belongs to the same clan from which Siegmund killed some and from which he is now on the run. Hunding gives his guest a grace period:

Wolfing guards my house, you today;
for the night I took you in:
with a strong weapon defend yourself tomorrow;
to fight I gravel the day:
you pay me customs for the dead.

Siegmund, unarmed in the trap in the house of the enemy, calls his father Wälse, where the promised sword is, which he would find in dire need. A ray of light from the last embers in the dying hearth fire directs his gaze to the gleaming hilt of the sword in the trunk of the ash (“What ray breaks out of the ash trunk?”), Which he does not recognize, however, but imaginatively as “the gaze of the blooming woman that she left behind, stuck there ”. When he falls asleep, Sieglinde sneaks up to him. She drugged Hunding with a sleeping potion to enable Siegmund to escape. She describes how she came to the unloved Hunding and how a mysterious stranger stuck a sword into the trunk that no one could pull out and was only intended for the strongest. Both tell from their past and discover that they are siblings ("Winter storms gave way to the moon of joy"). Siegmund recognizes the sword that has been promised to him, to which he gives the name “Notung”, and with ecstatic enthusiasm pulls it out of the trunk. Intoxicated by mutual love, they perform the act of love ("Bride and sister are you to the brother - so the Welsung blood bloom!") And then flee into the spring night.

  • 2nd elevator: Wild rock mountains

Hunding learns of the escape a few hours later and calls Fricka, the marriage guardian. She shudders at the murderous act and seeks out her husband to demand revenge from him. Wotan doesn't think about it at first and quite openly shows his pleasure in the loving pair of twins.

What so bad did the couple create
the loving unity of Lenz?
She was delighted by the magic of love:
who atone for my love for power?

He tries to prove to Fricka that Siegmund must live to the blessing of all of them in order to regain the ring and secure her power. He desperately tries to convince the guardian of morality of his overarching strategies:

You learned nothing, if I wanted to teach you
what you can never see, the deed never took place.
Always familiar, you may understand:
but what never met
this is what my mind seeks!

Wotan finally (again) has to bow to his own laws and the moral concepts of his wife and orders his daughter Brünnhilde, contrary to his earlier orders, to protect the latter in the upcoming fight between Siegmund and Hunding so that Siegmund falls. Brünnhilde doesn't understand her father and asks why he has changed his mind. Wotan confidently reveals to her (“I just advise, I talk to you”) the fateful entanglement in which he finds himself. What he once strived for is now a curse for him. Erda had once promised him that the end of the gods would be near if the "loveless" man succeeded in fathering a son. Alberich has now achieved this, reports Wotan. He bought a woman's favor with gold. She gave birth to a son who is now a "son of the Nibelungs". If he were to get the ring, then all would be lost. Wotan, meanwhile discouraged and despising the world that "once laughed" for him, draws a conclusion of his rule:

Distress! Distress! endless rage!
Eternal grief! I'm the saddest of them all!
Then go there, imperious splendor,
disgrace boasting divine pomp!
Collapse what I built!
I give up my work;
I only want one more thing: the end - the end!
And Alberich takes care of the end!

Brünnhilde reluctantly has to obey her father's command and appears before Siegmund, who holds the sister, exhausted from the flight, in his arms to announce his death. Siegmund, however, is more willing to kill his sister than to leave her alone on earth. Touched by the strength of this love, Brünnhilde defies her father's command and promises Siegmund her protection. You can already hear Hunding challenging his rival to fight. But then Wotan intervenes and smashes Siegmund's sword with his spear. Hunding can thus kill Siegmund. Brünnhilde is appalled. With presence of mind she collects the pieces of sword and flees with Sieglinde. Wotan, bitter about the death of his son, kills Hunding with a single, scornful word: "Go!" Then he remembers the defiance of his own daughter, who "dared" to act against his orders, and chases after her.

  • 3rd elevator: On the top of a rocky mountain

Orchestra: Valkyries ride

Brünnhilde seeks refuge with her sisters, the Valkyries. But for fear of the resentment of their "whale father" Wotan, the sisters refuse to help. Brünnhilde sees no other way out than to let Sieglinde flee alone. She announces a son for whom she will keep the sword pieces and whom she should name Siegfried. Sieglinde flees and thanks Brünnhilde "knowing in advance":

For the one we loved, I will save the dearest:
thank you, laugh at you once!
Goodbye Sieglinde's woes bless you!

Wotan appears and - still angry - brings her to account. He wants to expose Brünnhilde first of all to the harshest punishment, namely to put her to sleep and leave her as a woman to the first person who comes by and wakes her. But Brünnhilde succeeds in softening her sentence insofar as not every coward can awaken her. Torn between anger, law-abidingness and fatherly love, Wotan takes leave of his favorite daughter with emotion. ("Farewell, you bold, wonderful child, you pride in my heart") He calls Loge and orders him to light a huge fire around the rock on which Brünnhilde sleeps, which only a courageous, fearless hero should penetrate: "Whoever fears the tip of my spear, never cross the fire." (Fire magic)


  • 1st elevator: forest

Sieglinde had found Mime in his forest cave and had given birth to her son. She died doing it. Before that, she bequeathed the sword pieces to the blacksmith and asked him to name and raise her child "Siegfried". Mime raised the baby more reluctantly, in the hope of creating a hero who could one day slay the lindworm Fafner and bring him, Mime, into possession of the ring and treasure. The upbringing, however, does not really succeed. The growing up Siegfried, an angry bully, doesn't like his "father"; he doesn't listen to him and prefers to roam freely in the forest.

Meanwhile, Mime tries to forge a good sword for his foster son, but no weapon is hard enough for the strong boy. One day Siegfried intrudes on him with a specific question. From observing the animal world, he learned that a family also includes a mother. First, Mime tries to explain to “his child” that he is “father and mother at the same time”, but then finally has to tell the young man the true story of his origins (“as a feeding child, I raised you”). He also shows him the pieces of the sword that his father is said to have wielded. Siegfried enthusiastically orders him to forge a new sword from the pieces. Looking forward to the new weapon, he walks out into the forest.

While Mime is still pondering how to forge the pieces, a wanderer enters. It is Wotan who only wants to experience the goings-on in the world as a spectator. In order to wrest the right to hospitality from the stubborn blacksmith, he puts his head on a "deposit of knowledge". The dwarf makes the wager too easy for the hiker: he asks about the inhabitants in "the depths of the earth" (the Nibelungs), on "the back of the earth" (the giants) and on "cloudy heights" (the gods). Mime is also able to answer two questions from Wotan: about Wotan's desired sex (the Wälsungen), and about the sword that was good for Fafner's death (Notung). However, since the blacksmith cannot solve the third question - namely, "Who will weld Notung, the sword, from the strong pieces?" - Mime's head fell for the wanderer. Generously, however, he gives Mime's head to the person “who has not learned to fear” and also prophesies to the blacksmith: “Only those who have never experienced fear will Notung forge again”. Mime is horrified, in a "terrible dilemma", and is very afraid when the hiker walks away laughing and with thunder and lightning:

Accursed light! What flames the air there?
What flickers and paints, what flickers and buzzes,
what is floating there and weaving and wafting about?
There it glimmers and glitters in the sun!
What is whispering and buzzing and whizzing?
It buzzes and roars and patters here!
There it breaks through the forest, want to meet me!
A terrible throat rips open to me:
the worm wants to catch me! Fafner! Fafner!

Siegfried, who returns, finds Mime in great fear under the anvil and has to hear from the dwarf what fear is. Since he does not understand this, but Mime - after the encounter with the hiker - has a vital interest in Siegfried learning to fear, wants to lead him to a "bad worm" that will make him fearful. However, this requires a sharp sword. Siegfried, who no longer wants to rely on Mime's blacksmithing, is now about to forge the Notung sword himself. In an unconventional way - Mime is horrified - Siegfried shreds the pieces into powder, melts it "to a pulp", pours it into a mold and cools the hot iron in cold water (and thus "invents" the hard steel ). He thus creates a completely new sword: he overcomes the "tried and tested" and uses a new method. One condition would be fulfilled: that only a free hero who works by himself can accomplish the deed Wotan longed for. Wotan would have loved it.

Meanwhile, Mime cooks a drink ("the old man brews brew for him from eggs"), which is supposed to make Siegfried senseless after the dragon fight, so that he can then easily be killed. While Siegfried sings his forged songs ("Notung! Notung! Envious sword"), Mime monologues about his devious plans and already sees himself as king and "Walter of the universe!" With the finished sword, Siegfried cuts the anvil with one mighty blow: "Ecstatic Mime falls to the ground sitting in shock. Siegfried holds up his sword with exultation ”(according to Wagner's precise direction).

  • 2nd elevator: deep forest

Alberich wakes up in front of the lindworm Fafner's cave and waits, “gloomy brooding”, for the hoped-for dragon slayer. Instead, Wotan appears. The two rivals for the power of the world face each other again. But Wotan is different from then. He is no longer interested in the ring, the symbol of power. On the contrary: He treats Alberich in a friendly manner and even offers to wake the dragon up to warn him of the approaching "dragon slayer". Fafner ignores the warning and continues to sleep ("I'm lying, and have: - let me sleep!"). Resigned, Wotan advises the waiting Alberich to let everything take its course: "Everything is according to its nature, you will not change anything about it."

Wotan disappears again in the forest, Alberich looks after him doubtfully ("There he rides on a light horse: he leaves me worry and ridicule"). Enter MIME and Siegfried. Mime gives Siegfried some advice and, to be on the safe side, goes back into the forest, waiting for his chance, and thinks out loud: "Siegfried and Fafner - oh, they'd both kill themselves!" Siegfried enjoys the silence of the forest and watches a bird (Waldweben ) . He tries to imitate his voice with his horn: In vain, but he wakes the dragon. A battle ensues between the two dissimilar opponents. With notation in his heart, Fafner finally collapses. Realizing that the boy is subject to the curse of the ring and forgiving as he dies, Fafner warns his conqueror of Mime's cunning.

Now look bright, blooming boy; treason surrounds the lord of the hoard:
who incited you blind to action, now advises the blooming death.
Notice how it ends: - take care of me!

Siegfried pulls the sword out of Fafner's chest, involuntarily licks his blood and suddenly understands the language of the birds. They sing to him that he should now also take possession of the Nibelungenhort, complete with ring and tarn helmet. While he is going into the cave, Mime and Alberich come and argue, because both now also want the treasure. Alberich mockingly rejects any thought of dividing the hoard or even relinquishing the camouflage helmet. In return, Mime threatens to enforce his right to the booty with Siegfried's help. The two brothers split up hastily when Siegfried reappears at the entrance to the cave. Mime feigningly greets Siegfried as a hero and wants to offer him his drink to refresh himself. But Siegfried, warned by the song of the forest bird, also hears in his speeches that he wanted to "just cut his head off". Disgusted, he kills “the disgusting babbler” Mime, in the background you can hear Alberich's scornful laughter. In the meantime, five people have died fighting for the cursed ring. Siegfried doesn't understand any of this and asks the little forest bird, who is now singing about Brünnhilde, the “most glorious woman” who waits on a rock surrounded by fire to be awakened by a fearless man. The young dragon slayer sets out immediately.

  • 3rd elevator: Wild area

Wotan calls Erda up again to seek advice from her. But Erda can no longer help him, "the world circles wildly and frizzy", her "primordial mother's wisdom" is at an end. Wotan wants a quick end to the rule of the gods and the "blissiest Wälsung" (Siegfried), with the help of the still sleeping Brünnhilde, as heir. Siegfried is approaching. Wotan blocks his way. He stops the young man by asking him where the sword comes from. Siegfried proudly calls it his own, newly created work and more and more insists on Wotan, whom he does not know and for whom he shows no respect. Finally, Wotan opposes Siegfried with his spear and reveals himself as the one who once smashed his father's sword. But Siegfried does not give way and with one blow smashes the spear of the god. Wotan gives way - finally resigned (and yet relieved) - to the one "who has not learned to fear". The way to Brünnhilde is clear, Siegfried effortlessly walks through the fire and finds the sleeping Valkyrie. He removes his helmet and armor and realizes that it is “not a man” - Siegfried has never seen a woman before. He is horrified: “Whom do I call for salvation to help me? - Mother! Mother! Remember me! ”Since shouting doesn't help, he kisses her with a long kiss. Brünnhilde wakes up (according to Wagner's direction) "slowly and solemnly getting up to her seat" and welcomes her new life:

Orchestra: Brünnhilde's Awakening

Hail sun! Heal you light!
Hail to you, shining day!
My sleep was long; I woke up:
Who is the hero who wakes me up?

Both now experience, at first shy, then full of fear and fear, the awakening of their feelings for one another and look back on their fateful past. Finally they embrace passionately with an intoxicating outburst of all-overwhelming love: ("shining love, laughing death").


  • Prelude: On the Valkyrie Rock

The Norns, “primordial” daughters of Erda, spin the rope of fate and recapitulate what has happened so far. However, their visionary remembrance ends abruptly when the rope from which they read what happened, as it were, breaks.

Orchestra: dawn

Siegfried and Brünnhilde exchange signs of love in the morning: Siegfried leaves the ring to Brünnhilde, she gives him her steed 'Grane' and sends him out: “for new deeds, dear hero”. They swear eternal loyalty and love to each other before Siegfried sets off on new adventures full of exuberance.

Orchestra: Siegfrieds Rheinfahrt

  • Act 1, scene 1: The Gibichung hall on the Rhine

Siegfried comes to the Gibichung court on the Rhine, where Gunther, Gutrune and Hagen are staying. People have already heard of him and his Nibelungen hoard there. Hagen, half-brother of the two Gibichungen and son of Alberich (with Grimhild, the mother of the Gibichungen), pursues a clever plan. He arouses the desire to win Gunther, the treasure and Brünnhilde, “the most noble woman in the world”, and the desire to wish Gutrun, Siegfried, “the strongest hero” for a man. With the help of a "welcome drink" he manipulates Siegfried so that he actually forgets Brünnhilde and wishes Gutrune to be his wife. Siegfried is even ready to form blood brotherhood with Gunther and for him - disguised as Gunther - to conquer Brünnhilde, which is a small thing for him with the help of the Tarn helmet. Siegfried and Gunther make their way to the Valkyrie Rock. The “pure gate” Siegfried has thus become the willing tool of the scheming Hagen, who stays behind, guards the hall and has only one thing on his mind: the ring that Siegfried is supposed to bring him.

  • Act 1, scene 2: The height of the rock (as in the prelude)

At the same time, Brünnhilde is visited by her sister Waltraute. This reports that decisive things have happened in Valhalla (Waltraute's story) . Wotan recently returned from his restless wanderings, holding the pieces of his broken spear in his hand. He then gathered all the gods and heroes around him and felled the world ash and layered it in a huge pyre around Valhalla. Now he would just sit there, on “a noble seat, silent and serious”. He sent his two ravens out into the world to be able to follow the development. Oh, if they came home with the message that Brünnhilde would give the ring back to the Rhine daughters, "God and the world would be redeemed from the curse's burden". She (Waltraute) came to her with this request. Brünnhilde is appalled by Wotan's suggestion that Siegfried's pledge of love (the ring) is far more important to her than the gods and the world's misery. Waltraute has to ride back unsuccessfully.

Brünnhilde hears Siegfried's horn, laughs at her lover and is scared to death when a stranger stands in front of her: it is Siegfried in Gunther's shape. He snatches the ring from Brünnhilde and forces her to spend the night with him. Out of loyalty to Gunther, he puts his sword between himself and the woman - who is actually his wife (of which he is no longer aware, however, due to the effects of the "forgetting potion").

  • 2nd elevator: Uferraum (in front of the Gibichung hall)

Hagen is still guarding the hall and in a dream receives a visit from his father Alberich. He once again urges him to do everything possible to win the ring:

Me and you! We inherit the world.
The golden ring, the ring, is to be won!
I make you fearless,
I brought up Hagen to be tenacious:
he should avenge me now, win the ring,
to scorn the Wälsung and Wotan.
Do you swear it to me, Hagen my son?

The next morning Siegfried transfers himself back to Gunther's castle on the Rhine with the help of the Tarn helmet. He braggedly reports to Hagen how he stole Brünnhilde as a bride for Gunther and proudly shows another booty: the ring. Both Gunther and Brünnhilde would appear as the bride and groom and would certainly be happy to receive a fitting reception. With his horn, Hagen calls the Gibichsmannen, his bodyguard, together and makes preparations for the reception for Gunther and his bride. They solemnly move in: Brünnhilde stands stunned in front of the unsuspecting (foolish) Siegfried. She doesn't understand the whole situation, especially not when she sees the ring on Siegfried's hand, which should actually be on Gunther's hand - her supposed conqueror last night:

Amounted to! Amounted to! Most shameful fraud!
Treason! Treason! How never has he avenged!
Holy gods, heavenly Walter!
Do you teach me suffering like no one suffered?
Do you bring disgrace to me as never hurt?
What Unholds List is hidden here?
What magic advice did this stir?
Now where is my knowledge against this confusion?
Where are my runes against this riddle?

Brünnhilde is deeply hurt, she is dishonored, she wants revenge for the outrageous breach of trust. All the blood in the world could not make up for this injustice, only Siegfried's death. Hagen offers himself as a helper: “Cheated woman! I will avenge anyone who betrays you. ”Brünnhilde knows that Siegfried is only vulnerable in the back and reveals it:“ Not in a fight; but - you will meet him in the back. "

Gunther initially resists the planned assassination, but Hagen knows how to grasp his greed for the ring and persuade him to commit murder: "Siegfried falls!", The three of them swear.

  • Act 3, scene 1: Wild forest and rock valley

The following day a hunt is organized in which Gunther, Hagen and Siegfried also take part. This comes off the trail of a bear and meets the three Rhine daughters. The mermaids are ready to help him to the lost game if he gives them the ring that shines on his hand. Siegfried hesitates at first, but then allows himself to be softened and cockily wants to fulfill the wish of the three "water birds". When they report the dangerous power of the ring, however, he defies their pleading, brags about his successes and disgusts the warning Rhine daughters. ("In the water as well as on the land, I am now learning to be women: whoever does not trust their flattery, they scare them with a drone; those who boldly defy it, then their turn comes") So Siegfried keeps the ring and meets the hunting party again . He has to admit that he is the only one without a bag. To compensate, he sings to the men from his previous life to the point before he won Brünnhilde. Hagen hands the “singing hero” a drink that revives Siegfried's memory. Everyone is now amazed to hear of Siegfried's love for Brünnhilde. As Brünnhilde's husband, Gunther is offended, Hagen plays the avenger and pushes Siegfried down from behind: “I avenge perjury”. In dying Siegfried realizes his mistake and his love for Brünnhilde, his "holy bride". He dies. The men lift the corpse on the shield and slowly escort it in a solemn procession over the top of the rock, ... so Wagner's precise description of the scene.

  • 3rd elevator, 2nd scene: The hall of the Gibichungen

Orchestra: funeral march

Gutrune is horrified at the sight of her dead husband and accuses Hagen. He proudly takes the blame for the hero's death and demands the ring as reward. Here, however, he also touches Gunther's interest. Both fight for the ring. Hagen stabs his brother and is about to pull the ring from Siegfried's finger when, to the horror of those present, the dead man's arm rises up. Exactly at this eerie moment Brünnhilde appears (“Be silent in your lamentation, exultant surge!”) And describes herself as Siegfried's real lover and wife. She wants to follow him into death and thereby at the same time release the curse of the ring. She has a pyre built (“I am stacking strong logs there on the edge of the Rhine”), takes the ring from Siegfried's hand, sets the pile on fire, rides in with her horse Grane and sends Wotan's ravens home with the message of salvation Valhalla:

Fly home, you ravens!
Whisper to your master what you own here on the Rhine!
Drive past Brünnhilde's rock.
Who is still blazing there, points Loge to Valhalla!
Because the end of the gods is dawning.
So - I throw the fire in Walhall's splendid castle.

The end of the previous world order has come. The wood of the felled world ash, which Wotan had layered around Valhalla, sets the castle of the gods on fire. The Rhine overflows its banks and gives the Rhine daughters the way to the Ring from Brünnhilde's hand. Hagen tries one last time to snatch the golden circlet, but the mermaids drag it down with them into the depths of the water. In this way, the gold purified from the curse (indicated in the orchestra by the “redemption motif”) returns to its natural place.

Bayreuth Festival

The premiere

Ring memorial plaque in the foyer of the Festspielhaus

The first performance of the entire ring took place on consecutive match days (with a day off between Siegfried and Götterdämmerung ) from August 13th to 17th, 1876, beginning with the evening before Das Rheingold in the Bayreuth Festival Hall. The presentation took Wagner himself, the musical director had Hans Richter . The German Emperor Wilhelm, as well as Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil, some kings and princes and many artists attended the extraordinary art event, because never before had an artist built his own theater to perform one of his works in order to organize a festival. A total of three cyclical performances were given, on August 30th the curtain fell after the last Götterdämmerung . Wagner later summed up:

“How brilliant the external course of events at the stage festival finally took place on those sunny summer days of 1876 was allowed to cause a tremendous sensation on all sides. It seemed very true that no artist had ever been so honored; for if one had experienced that such a man had been appointed emperor and prince, no one could remember that emperors and princes had ever come to him. "

Wagner had worked towards this goal for over 25 years. He prepared intensively for the festival as the builder of the festival hall and as a director. From 1873 he visited all the major opera houses in Germany to find suitable singer actors for the demanding roles and gave concerts in order to raise money for the financing. From 1874, regular rehearsals with the singers took place in Bayreuth - initially in his house Wahnfried . He motivated all singers to forego their fees if they stayed free , and honored them by name on a plaque. The ambitious artist was nevertheless not satisfied with his “total work of art” and his audience. Wagner summed up: "I and my work have no basis at this time" . Paul Lindau , a Berlin theater critic, put it more distantly and wrote:

“Through the power of his personality and the importance of his work, Wagner managed to get a crowd of artistic powers here in this modest part of the world, which is completely remote from the major roads and is never touched by chance, but only reached on purpose unite, which in fact can be called unique. He has implemented a bold program. "

Wagner, who had the idea of ​​the ring in revolutionary times as an outsider artist and was revered as a “master” after more than 25 years, had to realize that the “message” of his ring was not recognized by the contemporary audience, which is certainly also the case with old Germanic - romantic, transfigured performance style (with costumes reminiscent of Indian chiefs) of his work. He had won well-known artists such as Josef Hoffmann for the stage design and Carl Emil Doepler as the costume designer for the premiere. Originally, as a champion of a new art ideology, Wagner had very different ambitions. He wanted a meaningful festival for the new German nation for a people who were still underage. But instead of the “people”, his socially critical work was visited by the “powerful”, the established and the nobility, to whom he actually wanted to hold up a mirror with his work.

Productions and performances

Source: Bayreuth Festival

Stage designs for Bayreuth by J. Hoffmann (1876)
Stage design Rheingold.JPG
Stage design Walküre.JPG
Stage design Siegfried.JPG
Stage design Götterdämmerung.JPG
Serial No. From To Performances Staging
01 1876 1876 012 Richard Wagner , Richard Fricke
  1877 1895 No ring performances  
02 1896 1931 164 Cosima Wagner
  1932   No ring performances  
03 1933 1942 064 Heinz Tietjen
  1943 1950 No ring performances 1)  
04th 1951 1958 048 Wieland Wagner
  1959   No ring performances  
05 1960 1964 048 Wolfgang Wagner
06th 1965 1969 049 Wieland Wagner
07th 1970 1975 065 Wolfgang Wagner
08th 1976 1980 068 Patrice Chereau
  1981 1982 No ring performances  
09 1983 1986 052 Peter Hall
  1987   No ring performances  
10 1988 1992 064 Harry Copper
  1993   No ring performances  
11 1994 1999 064 Alfred Kirchner
12 2000 2004 064 Jürgen Flimm
  2005   No ring performances  
13 2006 2010 064 Tankred Dorst
  2011 2012 No ring performances  
14th 2013 2018 068 Frank Castorf
  2019   No ring performances  
15th 2020   03 Valentin Black

1) no Bayreuth Festival 1945 to 1950

Playing time

In Bayreuth it was customary from the beginning to document the duration of the individual acts. Since the operas are not performed according to the metronome , the playing time differs from conductor to conductor. T. considerably. For the lengths of individual acts in the individual years, see Das Rheingold , Die Walküre , Siegfried , Götterdämmerung .

Range of playing time at the Bayreuth Festival from 1876 to 1970
Opera 1st act 2nd act 3rd act Total duration
the Rheingold   Hours. conductor
Shortest duration   2:08 Heinz Tietjen
Longest duration   2:42 Hans Knappertsbusch
Span **   0:34 (27%)
The Valkyrie Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor
Shortest duration 1:00 Otmar Suitner 1:23 Lorin Maazel ,
Otmar Suitner
1:04 Otmar Suitner ,
Clemens Krauss
3:27 Otmar Suitner
Longest duration 1:07 Siegfried Wagner 1:36 Hans Knappertsbusch 1:15 Franz von Hoeßlin 3:53 Hans Knappertsbusch
Span ** 0:07 (12%) 0:13 (16%) 0:11 (17%) 0:26 (13%)
Siegfried Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor
Shortest duration 1:15 Lorin Maazel
Horst Stein
1:07 Lorin Maazel 1:12 Otmar Suitner 3:36 Lorin Maazel
Longest duration 1:24 Hans Knappertsbusch
Berislav Klobučar
1:17 Hans Richter 1:25 Hans Knappertsbusch 4:05 Hans Knappertsbusch
Span ** 0:09 (12%) 0:10 (15%) 0:13 (18%) 0:29 (13%)
Götterdämmerung Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor Hours. conductor
Shortest duration 1:47 Otmar Suitner 0:55 Horst Stein 1:09 Karl Bohm 3:58 Horst Stein
Longest duration 2:11 Franz Beidler 1:10 Hans Knappertsbusch 1:23 Hans Knappertsbusch 4:40 Hans Knappertsbusch
Span ** 0:24 (22%) 0:15 (27%) 0:14 (20%) 0:42 (18%)

* The overview does not take into account all years and performances ** Percentages refer to the shortest duration

Social criticism in the "Ring of the Nibelung"

The years 1848 and 1849 were formative in the history of the ring . Wagner was strongly influenced by the general awakening in the German Confederation . A republic was to emerge ( German Revolution 1848/49 ); Marx and Engels published the communist manifesto ; Mikhail Bakunin acted as the "leader of the revolution" in Dresden; Ludwig Feuerbach propagated "freedom of thought"; Proudhon proclaimed: “Property is theft!” In this “Sturm und Drang period” Wagner conceived two musical dramas for the stage at the same time, which deal with the entanglement of people in the crosshairs of power, property and lack of freedom: Siegfried's death and Jesus von Nazareth . In his communications to my friends , Wagner explains:

“Just as I came with Siegfried through the power of my longing to the source of the eternally pure human, so I came now, when I found this longing for modern life absolutely insatiable, and again only the flight from this life, with the lifting of its demands to me through self-destruction, as had to recognize redemption, also to the original source of all modern ideas from this relationship on, namely the human Jesus of Nazareth. "

In Jesus he saw a person who, as an individual, fought against the “dishonorable, hollow and wretched sensuality of the Roman world” insofar as he had to long for a better hereafter and sought death. With and in this self-sacrifice, Wagner saw only an “imperfect expression of that human instinct which urges the individual to revolt against a loveless general public.” In this sense, he wrote a drama in five acts: “Jesus of Nazareth, a poetic draft” (from 40 pages have survived) and combines quotations from the Gospels with their own interpretations. The "common thread" is that Jesus, who at Wagner is the legitimate heir of the royal family of David and is to be won over for an uprising against the Roman subjugation of Judea, acts differently than expected by many, namely as a social revolutionary against the "fall of man." “Fights.

According to Wagner's view, this "fall into sin" consists in the fact that in the course of history people have distanced themselves from the divine origin of nature and have created property and laws for themselves. Instead of the “state of nature” there is now the state with an (im) legal order. In favor of the rich, God has mutated into industry, Wagner attacks the conditions of the time, and this now established “industrial god” would only keep the poor Christian worker alive until “heavenly trade constellations” bring about the gracious necessity to transform them into one dismiss better world. These “unchristian” conditions would have to be overcome by “free people”, ie the gods (rulers) must be destroyed. In a new order one can then be happy without laws, because laws inevitably include breaking them. This message, thought Wagner, could not have been conveyed with the "Jesus Drama" for various reasons on the theater stage, and so he concentrated more and more on his "alternative" hero Siegfried.

The mythological dimension of the "plot" offers numerous possibilities for interpretation.

After Friedrich Nietzsche , George Bernard Shaw was one of the first to take up the idea that the ring is a drama of the present and not one from a fabulous past. The music-savvy writer, for example, interpreted one of the key scenes with Alberich, when he was mocked by the Rhine daughters and then reached for the gold, as follows:

"It is as if some poor, common, uncouth fellow offered to play a part in aristocratic society and was dealt with with the verdict that only as a millionaire could he ever hope to submit to this society, to buy a beautiful and cultured woman. The choice is forced upon him. He renounces love as thousands of us renounce love every day. At the same moment the gold is in his power and he immediately goes to work to use the power of gold. "

Franz Wilhelm Beidler (1901–1981), son of the first (illegitimate) Wagner daughter Isolde (and thus Richard Wagner's first grandson), interpreted the ring as a work that was concocted as if from an extract of the century: “A new Dante is shaping the here powerful accusation against the principle that reshapes the world of its time, forms the artistic-visionary counterpart to the political action of a Bakunin, to the scientific criticism of a Karl Marx [...]; the hidden meaning of current events is revealed in artistic vision. ”Beidler continues:

“The complicated pits and ironworks of the Ruhr area, for example, are simplified to the workshops of Nibelheim, the anonymity of capital, the uncertainty of the shareholder is revealed in the veiled tarn helmet. The demonic power of the ring, ie the capitalist striving for power and profit, penetrates all relationships, dissolves all ties, rights and morals. The powers that have ruled from ancient times - here they are called gods - get entangled in the capitalist undergrowth, and the world waits for man. To the person who, by renouncing possession and gain, finds the strength to liberate action and replaces gods and dwarfs. "

Franz. W. Beidler liked to refer to “his grandfather” as a “social revolutionary poet composer”. However, the Social Revolutionary changed in the course of its life. First the innovator Siegfried - the free man - should inherit Wotan after the destruction of the old world and build a better world order. However, when Wagner got to know Arthur Schopenhauer's world-contemptuous philosophy while working on the Ring (he read several times the main work of the philosopher The World as Will and Idea ) he became a resigned man. He wrote to his friend Franz Liszt in Weimar: “The world is bad, fundamentally bad, only the heart of a friend, only the tear of a woman can release her from her curse [...] It belongs to Alberich! Nobody else! - Away with her! "

Later in his life, Wagner became a "regenerator". He believed in being able to stop “the decline of humanity” with the help of art and made his intention clear on the one hand with the redemption motif at the end of Götterdämmerung, on the other hand with his last work Parsifal .


Wagner's ring has been commented on innumerable, with the evaluations taking on all shades between ardent admiration and vehement rejection. Here are some voices:

Gerhart Hauptmann

“Deep, all-too-deep, shallow, and all-too-shallow enough have been said about him. Nevertheless, the silence must be broken again and again. As a youth I was under Wagner's spell, stood far from his art for a long time and had to stand far from it in order to develop my own strength. I returned to her confident. I see them very differently today than in the youth ban. I see it today as an original artistic phenomenon, dating from a time before all German art, including music. I am far from being delighted with Wagner in a German way; because he is as Greek as it is German, as Asian as it is European. A work like the ring is the only one of its kind in the world in terms of origin, growth and completion, and perhaps the most enigmatic artistic creation of the last millennia. Culture has nothing to do with it, and it has nothing to do with culture. It has nothing to do with the German Rhine, the Germanic gods and the Nibelungs, and all these beautiful things have nothing to do with it. It also has nothing to do with Christianity, although it is completely and completely revealed. Whoever wants to understand it does not have to drown in this art, nor swim in it. He must welcome her as the great, eternal stranger. In parable terms, it could be described as a boiling geyser erupting underground, throwing up an unknown glowing element from the interior of the earth, which the human soul, which wets it, can bathe and burn pure from the slag of the last millennia. "

Friedrich Nietzsche

“For half his life, Wagner believed in the revolution as only some French believed in it. He looked for her in the runic writings of myth, he believed he found the typical revolutionary in Siegfried. - 'Where does all evil in the world come from?' Wagner asked himself. From 'old contracts'; he replied, like all revolutionary ideologues. In German: of customs, laws, morals, institutions, of everything on which the old world, the old society rests. "

King Ludwig II.

“The more I ponder this one and only, this true miracle, the more overwhelming I am amazed and the ever growing admiration of the giant spirit that godlike created it! - Happy century that saw such a spirit rise up in its midst! "

Ludwig Speidel

“No, no and three times no, the German people have nothing in common with this music-dramatic shame of apes, which has now become apparent, and should it ever find real pleasure in the false gold of the Nibelungenring, it would be crossed out of the ranks of the civilized peoples of the Occident! "

George Bernard Shaw

"Only people with a comprehensive mind will be able to follow what is happening breathlessly, because they see in it the whole tragedy of human history and the whole horror of the dilemma before which the world shudders today ..."

Thomas Mann

"It is the work of a true eruption of talent and genius, the deeply serious and enchanting work of a magician who is as soulful as he is drunk with wisdom."

Theodor W. Adorno

“The Rhine daughters, who play with gold at the beginning and get it back to play at the end, are the final end of Wagner's wisdom and music (...) His music behaves as if you do not strike an hour, while it is merely the hours of its duration denied by leading them back to the beginning. "

Herbert von Karajan

“If you could really play this music (Ring) the way Wagner heard it, you would have to forbid it - by the state; she blows up the world. It is a fiery doom. "

Joachim Kaiser

“Anyone who has not read the text carefully - a clever, profound text that deliberately uses the alliance scheme, which deserves the highest respect and not the mockery of those who do not want to think in operas - who has not read the text carefully and understood it word for word, so to speak , he will do in the performances of the RING what only the Rhine daughters are allowed to do, he will 'swim'. "

Igor Stravinsky

“I'm sorry: but I claim that, for example, in the aria La donna è mobile , in which the elite saw only pitiful superficiality, there is more substance and more true invention than in the rhetorical torrent of tetralogy . Whether you like it or not, Wagner's drama suffers from chronic bloat. His brilliant improvisations inflate the symphony immensely and add less power to it than the at the same time modest and aristocratic invention, which shines from every side of Verdi . "

Claude Debussy

“O my lord, how unbearable these people in helmets and animal skins become on the fourth evening. [...] Imagine that they never appear on stage without their damn leitmotif, sometimes they even sing it! [...] He [Wotan] spends his time constantly letting himself be told a story that the most pathetic dwarf from the ironworks of the Nibelungs would understand [...], which of course results in boring repetitions. [...] But all of this is a dramatic review, [...] it is more important to me to tell of the shining beauties of the ring . […] After minutes of boredom […] passages that are so unforgettable and beautiful appear that all criticism dies. It's just as irresistible as the sea. [...] To come to the end: one does not criticize such an important work as the Ring. [...] It is a creation whose architecture is lost in infinity. "

Significant interpretations

Productions and performances

Records / CD recordings

The definition of the “first complete recording” of the ring on records cannot be made clearly. There is a version on 78er shellac records from the 1930s in the antique trade. In addition, old recordings are increasingly being offered on CD, which also come from the 1920s / 30s, but were not published at the time - at least as a complete recording (most recently a version from 1935/37 with L. Melchior and K. Flagstad when it was mailed in 2001 Boston and New York).

The conductors Georg Solti and Herbert von Karajan made the first complete recordings available in stores .

Das Rheingold: George London (Wotan), Kirsten Flagstad (Fricka), Set Svanholm (Loge), Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich), Paul Kuën (Mime), Walter Kreppel (Fasolt), Kurt Böhme (Fafner), Jean Madeira (Erda) . (Recorded 1958)
The Valkyrie: James King (Siegmund), Régine Crespin (Sieglinde), Gottlob Frick (Hunding), Hans Hotter (Wotan), Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Christa Ludwig (Fricka). (Recorded 1965)
Siegfried: Wolfgang Windgassen (Siegfried), Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Hans Hotter (Wanderer), Gerhard Stolze (Mime), Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich), Kurt Böhme (Fafner), Marga Höffgen (Erda), Joan Sutherland (Waldvogel). (Recorded 1962)
Götterdämmerung: Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Wolfgang Windgassen (Siegfried), Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich), Gottlob Frick (Hagen), Claire Watson (Gutrune), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Gunther), Christa Ludwig (Waltraute), Lucia Popp (Woglinde ). (Recorded 1964)
This legendary studio recording was made almost at the same time as the recordings of the Solti Ring were made in 1966–1970 (Solti recorded Die Walküre as the last work of the cycle in 1965, Karajan as the first in 1966). Karajan founded the “Salzburg Easter Festival” especially for the performances of the ring . In contrast to the usual practice, the studio recordings were recorded before the live performance and used as a guide during rehearsals in Salzburg.
Das Rheingold: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Wotan), Josephine Veasey (Fricka), Zoltán Kelemen (Alberich), Gerhard Stolze (Loge), Erwin Wohlfahrt (Mime), Martti Talvela (Fasolt), Karl Ridderbusch (Fafner), Oralia Domínguez ( Erda). ADD, recorded in 1967
The Valkyrie: Thomas Stewart (Wotan), Régine Crespin (Brünnhilde), Gundula Janowitz (Sieglinde), Jon Vickers (Siegmund), Josephine Veasey (Fricka), Martti Talvela (Hunding). ADD, recorded in 1966
Siegfried: Jess Thomas (Siegfried), Thomas Stewart (Wanderer), Helga Dernesch (Brünnhilde), Gerhard Stolze (Mime), Zoltán Kelemen (Alberich), Karl Ridderbusch (Fafner), Oralia Domínguez (Erda). Recording: 1968–1969
Götterdämmerung: Helge Brilioth (Siegfried), Helga Dernesch (Brünnhilde), Karl Ridderbusch (Hagen), Christa Ludwig (Waltraute), Thomas Stewart (Gunther), Zoltán Kelemen (Alberich), Gundula Janowitz (Gutrune). ADD, recorded: 1969–1970

Other important recordings Wilhelm Furtwängler recorded one of the first complete recordings, regardless of publication, in Milan in 1951 and in Rome in 1953. The first complete stereo recording under Joseph Keilberth of the Bayreuth Festival in 1955 can be considered very important . Further complete recordings of the Bayreuth Festival: 1953 under Clemens Krauss and 1957 under Hans Knappertsbusch , 1966/67 under Karl Böhm , 1979/80 under Pierre Boulez and 1991/92 under Daniel Barenboim . The recording with the Staatskapelle Dresden under Marek Janowski (1980–1983) is considered one of the most musically interesting that this work has ever been recorded.

Movies, DVD and Blu-ray recordings

  • Metropolitan Opera New York 1990 (DVD 2002), conductor: James Levine; Director: Otto Schenk
  • State Opera Stuttgart 2002/03 (DVD 2004), conductor: Lothar Zagrosek; Directors: Joachim Schloemer, Christof Nel, Jossi Wieler, Peter Konwitschny
  • Bayreuth Festival 1976 (DVD 2005), conductor: Pierre Boulez; Director: Patrice Chéreau
  • Gran Teatre del Liceau Barcelona 2004 (DVD 2006), conductor: Bertrand de Billy; Director: Harry Kupfer
  • Bayreuth Festival 1992 (DVD 2007), conductor: Daniel Barenboim; Director: Harry Kupfer
  • Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen 2006 (DVD 2008), conductor: Michael Schønwandt ; Director: Kasper Bech Holten
  • Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía Valencia 2009 (DVD and Blu-ray Disc 2010), conductor: Zubin Mehta ; Director: Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus)
  • Metropolitan Opera New York 2010–2012 (Blu-ray Disc 2012), conductors: James Levine and Fabio Luisi ; Director: Robert Lepage
  • Oper Frankfurt (Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt) 2012 (DVD 2012) (The slipcase with 4 DVDs is titled Der Frankfurter Ring ), conductor: Sebastian Weigle ; Director: Vera Nemirova

Piano and orchestral arrangements

The first arrangements (transcripts) for piano were made by Franz Liszt , a complete piano reduction for the first time by Karl Klindworth .

Richard Wagner already gave excerpts from his ring in orchestral arrangements in concert halls (Walkürenritt, Wotan's farewell and fire magic, funeral march, etc.). In 1988, the conductor Lorin Maazel put together for the first time a continuous version of the most important scenes of the ring as an orchestral piece (70 minutes) and called the recording Ring without Words . Since then there have been various recordings, for example based on Friedmann Dreßler (100 minutes), which was performed with the Duisburg Philharmonic in May 2009 under Jonathan Darlington . In all “edits”, it is important that the transitions between the various scenes take place exclusively with “notes from the score”.

Richard Wagner's Siegfried Idyll from 1870 is a self-contained symphonic poem whose dominant motifs also come from the ring .

Parodies, satires, other interpretations

In 1904, Oscar Straus composed the operetta Die lustigen Nibelungen , which, in addition to the contemporary German reception of the Nibelungenlied, also targets Wagnerian operas.

Under the pseudonym Ernst von Pidde , a legal statement allegedly written in 1933 with Wagner's Ring (with a number of swipes at the opera genre) was published, in which the protagonists from theft to animal cruelty to serious arson and murder are detailed in various crimes. The book was published in 1968 from the alleged estate of Piddes and has been reprinted repeatedly since then.

Since 1982, parodic performances of the Bayreuth studio stage with adaptations of Wagner's works have been taking place in the courtyard of the Bayreuth piano factory Steingraeber & Sons in the unofficial supporting program of the Bayreuth Festival .

In 1988 the composer Klaus Arp created the "Ring Paraphrase", a jazzy short version of the ring for 10 trombones, bass and drums, for the double bass trombonist of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Joachim Mittelacher for the orchestra festival in Bayreuth .

In 1990 Maurice Béjart's ballet Un Spectacle autour du Ring , Deutsch Ring um den Ring , premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The approximately five-hour ballet / dance theater tells the ring in one evening. In addition to excerpts from the Deutsche Grammophon recording under Herbert von Karajan, the ballet uses piano reductions and spoken passages from the libretti as accompaniment.

In 1992 Vicco von Bülow ( Loriot ) created Der Ring in one evening, a parody version of Wagner's Ring .

The Berlin graphic artist Günter Scherbarth left behind an almost complete cycle of etchings on Wagner's Ring , which derives its humor from the use of nude figures, among other things.

In Munich, Der Ring is performed annually in one wash after Paul Schallweg in Bavarian dialect, mostly in the theater on Gärtnerplatz .

Between 2007 and 2009, Stefan Kaminski developed his own interpretation of the entire ring tetralogy for four different evenings as part of his staged radio play series Kaminski ON AIR .

The dramaturge and theater scholar Dagmar Borrmann plays the entire ring in 80 minutes with Playmobil characters.

The auteur filmmaker , opera director and theater director Selcuk Cara worked with the Prague State Opera to develop a concept for Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in the form of a "directors' concert" for the Austrian heroic tenor Andreas Schager . For this he condensed the ring tetralogy to 135 minutes. In addition to the dramaturgical concept, Selcuk Cara took on stage direction, set design and lighting. He wrote the book, directed and edited the film produced especially for this project. The project, supported by the Lower Austrian Culture Fund, premiered with the orchestra of the Prague State Opera in the Forum Karlin on October 25 and 26, 2018.


in alphabetical order by authors / editors

  • Udo Bermbach : Everything is in its own way. Figures in Richard Wagner's “The Ring of the Nibelung” . Stuttgart 2001.
  • Peter Berne: Apocalypse. End of the world and world renewal in Richard Wagner's “Ring des Nibelungen” . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 2006, ISBN 978-3-88462-224-7 .
  • David Boakye-Ansah: Music-dramatic constructions of religion in Richard Wagner's ring tetralogy . Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8300-4895-4 .
  • Robert Donington: Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung and its symbols. 4th edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-15-010258-8 .
  • Nora Eckert: The Ring of the Nibelung and its productions from 1876 to 2001 . European Publishing House, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-434-50489-3 .
  • Sven Friedrich : Richard Wagner, works, writings and letters. Digital library, Berlin 2004.
  • Sven Friedrich: The classic (seducer) guide: Wagner's ring motifs . Auricula, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-936196-02-8 .
  • Michael Jahn : Viennese historical opera guide 5. The apple, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-85450-295-1 .
  • Michael Jahn: The new production of the “Ring des Nibelungen” (1905–1910) , in: Verdi and Wagner in Vienna 4th . Der Apfel, Vienna 2015, pp. 63–94. ISBN 978-3-85450-325-5 .
  • Josef Lehmkuhl: … do you know the ring exactly? Würzburg 2006, ISBN 3-8260-3347-7 .
  • Loriot : Loriot's Little Opera Guide: The Ring of the Nibelung . Diogenes, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-257-06354-7 .
  • Hans Mayer : Notes on Richard Wagner . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • Albert Meier: The irony of the Nibelung. Richard Wagner's project to create an identity through the montage of romantic myths. In: Wolf Gerhard Schmidt, Jean-François Candoni, Stéphane Pesnel (eds.): Sound - Ton - Music. Theories and models of (national) cultural identity creation (= special issue 13 of the journal for aesthetics and general art history ). Hamburg 2014, pp. 145–154.
  • Volker Mertens: Wagner - The Ring of the Nibelung. Henschel, Leipzig 2013, ISBN 978-3-89487-907-5 .
  • Kurt Overhoff : Richard Wagner's musical dramas . Pustet, Salzburg 1967.
  • Ernst von Pidde : Richard Wagner's 'Ring des Nibelungen' in the light of German criminal law . Ullstein (licensed edition), Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-548-36493-4 .
  • Isolde Schmid-Reiter (Ed.): Richard Wagner's 'The Ring of the Nibelung': European Traditions and Paradigms . Regensburg: Conbrio 2010, ISBN 978-3-940768-16-2 .
  • Bernard Shaw : Wagner Breviary [1898]. 11th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-01337-8 .
  • Rolf Stemmle: The Ring of the Nibelung, Richard Wagner's complex tetralogy told in a catchy way. Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-3134-2 .
  • Christian Thielemann : My life with Wagner . CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63446-8 .
  • Peter Wapnewski : The Ring of the Nibelung. Richard Wagner's world drama . Piper, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-492-22629-9 .
  • Gastón Fournier-Facio, Alessandro Gamba: L'inizio e la fine del mondo . il Saggiatore, Milano 2013, ISBN 978-88-428-1890-8 .
  • Matthias Eichele: Ring - Drama for spoken theater based on the tetralogy "The Ring of the Nibelung" by Richard Wagner . ePubli, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-8442-7393-9 .
  • Wolf-Daniel Hartwich: German Mythology. The invention of a national art religion. Philo, Berlin / Vienna 2000.
  • Stefan Seiler: The offense as an element of action in Richard Wagner's “Ring des Nibelungen”. VWGÖ, 1993, ISBN 3-85369-913-8 .

References and comments

  1. Thielemann, p. 263.
  2. ^ Richard Wagner: Collected writings and seals in 16 volumes. Volume 2. Leipzig 1907 ff.
  3. ^ Letter to Theodor Uhlig , November 1851. Richard Wagner, Werke, Schriften und Letters . Edited by Sven Friedrich, p. 1007.
  4. ^ Letter to Theodor Uhlig, November 1851. Richard Wagner, Werke, Schriften und Letters . Edited by Sven Friedrich, p. 1008.
  5. ^ Richard Wagner, Works, Writings and Letters. Edited by Sven Friedrich. Digital Library, pp. 9700-12000.
  6. Wagner got to know the 18-year-old king in 1864 after years of "activity", who supported him financially until the end of his life and became his greatest patron and admirer. Wagner experienced a further "stabilization" through his second wife Cosima, with whom he set up "his asylum" in Tribschen and married there too.
  7. Siegfried was originally supposed to redeem the enslaved Nibelungs with Brünnhilde and move into Valhalla as Wotan's successor.
  8. ^ Chronological Wagner biography ( memento of October 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Chronology of the origins of the ring ( Memento from April 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  10. opera and drama ; Richard Wagner: Collected writings and poems in 16 volumes , volumes 3 and 4; Leipzig 1907 ff
  11. Robert Donington: Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung and its symbols . Stuttgart 1976.
  12. In Norse mythology Loki is characterized as follows: Loki is neat and beautiful in shape, but evil in temperament and very fickle. He surpasses all others in cunning and in every kind of deceit. (Gylfaginning, 33)
  13. Götterdämmerung , Prelude, Song of the First Norn.
  14. ^ Rheingold , 1st scene: Curse of the Alberich
  15. "I caught myself in my own bondage", he will complain later (Walküre, 2nd act).
  16. Lodge in Das Rheingold
  17. Wagner uses hammers and anvils in his orchestra to provide background music for the working Nibelungs.
  18. The progression of the plot shows that Wagner envisages the following layers: Below the ground the enslaved Nibelungs, on the ground the people and giants, on the "cloudy heights" the gods (question-bet with Mime in "Siegfried").
  19. Alberich in Das Rheingold : "... Those who live up there in milder breezes ..."
  20. Alberich's curse from Das Rheingold , a key part of the tetralogy.
  21. Wieland Wagner called Walhall a Wall Street ! Antoine Golea, conversations with Wieland Wagner . Salzburg, 1968.
  22. The telling conclusion of the Rheingold, which Wagner reflected on the evening before his death (see Cosima Wagner's diary).
  23. ^ Passage from the dialogue: Wotan, Brünnhilde; Die Walküre 2nd act.
  24. Passage from Sieglinde's story, Die Walküre , 1st act.
  25. Passage from Siegmund's story, Die Walküre , 1st act.
  26. Hunding's impressive bass part; The Valkyrie , 1st act
  27. This nocturnal pairing will result in Siegfried, the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde, and consequently Wotan's grandson.
  28. a b Wotan to Fricka; The Valkyrie , 2nd act
  29. This woman is Grimhild, the mother of Gunther and Gutrune. Your "son of the Nibelungs" is Hagen.
  30. Wotan's emotional outburst in conversation with Brünnhilde; The Valkyrie , 2nd act
  31. Annunciation: Siegmund, look to me; The Valkyrie , 2nd act
  32. Sieglinde already indicates that her son will one day be Brünnhilde's savior.
  33. A stab-rhyming poetic and musical masterpiece by Wagner; Siegfried , 1st act
  34. ↑ The old must first be destroyed so that the new can arise. This corresponds to the general intention of Wagner, who was a “revolutionary” all his life and for whom some critics chalk up a true “destructiveness”, see Art and the Revolution .
  35. Brünnhilde's Awakening, one of the most emotional and also singing / acting-wise demanding opera scenes ever (fresh-voiced soprano in a duet with a tired tenor). Soprano Astrid Varnay had an inimitable charisma, a role model for many of today's singers .
  36. It is Alberich's last appearance in the RING, who still feels betrayed and humiliated and is still pulling his strings in the background.
  37. Hagens demonischer Mannenruf (parade role for a bass), alternating vocals with the men, the only big choir scene in the RING
  38. Brünnhilde - holy bride - wake up! open your eye! - "Siegfrieds Tod", with the following "Funeral March" probably the most emotional 20 minutes of the RING, with many motifs in the orchestra recapitulating the RING plot.
  39. Brünnhilde's final song
  40. A look back at the stage festival of 1876, RW Complete Writings and Seals, Volume 10.
  41. source?
  42. This is Richard Wagner's summary according to an essay by Joachim Heinzle on the Nibelungen costumes on
  43. The Bayreuth Festival in numbers, performances sorted by productions. Accessed on January 28, 2020.
  44. ^ After Egon Voss: The conductors of the Bayreuth Festival, 1976, Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg. Pp. 97-99. For Wikipedia, only those performances are given that are named in the book with all files. Comparative figures determined for Wikipedia.
  45. All Writings and Seals, Volume 4
  46. All Writings and Seals, Volume 11
  47. see The art and the revolution , The work of art of the future
  48. a b G. B. Shaw : A Wagner Breviary ; Frankfurt 1973.
  49. ^ Dieter Borchmeyer : Richard Wagner, Ahasvers Wandlungen. Frankfurt 2002, ISBN 3-458-17135-5 , p. 523.
  50. ^ Letter to Franz Liszt dated October 7, 1854.
  51. see also Religion and Art
  52. Gerhart Hauptmann: Richard Wagner. In: The marker. 2 (1911) H. 19/29, p. 1f. Ullstein publishing house, Berlin
  53. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche : The Wagner case!
  54. ^ Letter from King Ludwig to RW from August 1876.
  55. Quoted from Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik, Richard Batka and Wilibald Nagel , 1909.
  56. Quotation from the speech by T. Mann Richard Wagner and the Ring of the Nibelung (1937) from: Im Schatten Wagner, Thomas Mann about Richard Wagner . Frankfurt 2005.
  57. ^ Theodor Adorno , experiment on Wagner (pp. 36–39).
  58. Horst Krüger : Bayreuth scene in east-west passages. Munich 1980.
  59. Joachim Kaiser: Life with Wagner . Munich 1990.
  60. ^ Igor Stravinsky : Musical Poetics . Edition Schott No. 3612, p. 40.
  61. ^ Quoted from Heinrich Strobel: Claude Debussy . 5th edition. Atlantis Verlag, Zurich 1961, p. 154 f .
  62. O. Hafner:  Schuch Ernst (aka Ernest) Gottfried von. In: Austrian Biographical Lexicon 1815–1950 (ÖBL). Volume 11, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-7001-2803-7 , p. 281.
  63. Ultimate Wagner fascination. Opernnetz review, accessed April 6, 2018.
  64. Jörg Königsdorf: When pictures tell. In: Opernwelt from September / October 2009, p. 42.
  65. Cologne: "THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG" on 1. – 2. April 2006 on the website of the Richard Wagner Association Munich (PDF file; 28 kB), accessed on April 6, 2018.
  66. Star Wars in Valhalla. Review on, accessed on December 11, 2014.
  67. Wagner's complete ring: get your tickets now! at the Landestheater Detmold ( Memento from April 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  68. Die Welt, July 26, 2011 "Frank Castorff should stage 2013"
  69. The Ring of the Nibelung in the Bauhaus city of Dessau
  70. Ernst Krziwanie: Dessau has the greatest. In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. April 9, 2015.
  71. ^ First complete ring cycle in 40 years In: Leipziger Volkszeitung. May 9, 2016.
  72. Augsburger Puppenkiste performs "Ring des Nibelungen". Accessed November 20, 2018 (German).
  73. ^ Siegfried instead of Urmel . ( [accessed November 20, 2018]).
  74. Alois Knoller: Augsburger Puppenkiste dares to do the "Ring des Nibelungen" . In: Augsburger Allgemeine . ( [accessed November 20, 2018]).
  75. Bayerischer Rundfunk: Wagner's "Ring" in the Augsburger Puppenkiste: Big drama on a small stage | BR classic . November 19, 2018 ( [accessed November 20, 2018]).
  76. .htm , accessed August 2, 2016.
  77. Fascination Wagner in Prague: The Ring of the Nibelung in two hours . nmz - new music newspaper. October 26, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2019.

Web links

Commons : Der Ring des Nibelungen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files