Das Rheingold

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Uncompleted Operas


About this sound Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold) is the first of the four operas comprising Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). It was originally written as an introduction to the tripartite Ring, but the cycle is now generally regarded as consisting of four individual operas.

Das Rheingold received its premiere at the National Theatre in Munich on 22 September 1869, with August Kindermann in the role of Wotan, Heinrich Vogl as Loge, and Karl Fischer as Alberich. Wagner wanted this opera to be premiered as part of the entire cycle, but was forced to allow the performance at the insistence of his patron King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The opera received its premiere as part of the complete cycle on 13 August 1876, in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus.

Contents

Composition history

Although Das Rheingold comes first in the sequence of Ring operas, it was the last to be conceived. Wagner's plans for the cycle grew backwards from the tale of the death of the hero Siegfried, to include his youth and then the story of the events around his conception and of how the Valkyrie Brűnnhilde was punished for trying to save his parents against Wotan's instructions. So in August 1851, Wagner wrote in "Eine Mittheilung an meine Freunde" (A Communication to My Friends), "I propose to produce my myth in three complete dramas....". However, by October, he had decided that this trilogy required a prelude and the text of "Eine Mittheilung" was duly altered to reflect the change. To the sentence quoted above he added the words, "which will be preceded by a great prelude".

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