Opera Scotland

Rhinegold Das Rheingold

Tours by decade

1910s - 3 tours

1910 - Denhof Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1911 - Denhof Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1913 - Denhof Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 1 tour

1923 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1930s - 1 tour

1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 1 tour

1967 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 2 tours

1971 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1976 - English National Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 1 tour

1989 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 3 tours

2000 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2003 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2008 - Edinburgh Players Opera Group
Concert performance

2010s - 6 tours

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 34 entries

England, UK - 9 entries

Richard Wagner (born Leipzig, 2 March 1813; died Venice, 13 February 1883)

The composer.

Original, derived from Norse legend (text written 1851-2, music composed 1853-4).

First performance: Munich (Court Theatre), 22 September 1869.
First UK performance: London (Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket), 5 May 1882.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (King’s Theatre), 28 February 1910.
Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (King’s Theatre), 6 May 1967.

The Ring of the Nibelungs is a cycle of four dramas, described as taking place over three days with a preliminary evening. Das Rheingold is that introductory evening. The four scenes are performed continuously without an interval. The characters include gods and mortals, as well as giants and dwarves.

Three Rhinemaidens: Woglinde (soprano), Wellgunde (mezzo-soprano), Flosshilde (contralto)
Two dwarves, brothers: Alberich (baritone), Mime (tenor)
Wotan, leader of the gods (bass-baritone)
Fricka, his wife, goddess of marriage (mezzo-soprano)
Freia, goddess of youth and beauty (soprano)
Two more gods, Freia’s brothers: Froh (tenor), Donner (bass-baritone)
Loge, god of fire (tenor)
Two giants: Fasolt, Fafner (basses)
Erda, the all-seeing Earth mother (contralto)

Plot Summary
In the river Rhine, the Rhinemaidens play and guard the Rhinegold. Alberich comes to swim and flirt with them, but they are repelled by his ugliness. He is offended by their laughter, and overhears their chatter to the effect that anyone who takes the gold and the power it holds must renounce love. In a fury, Alberich does this and grabs the gold. The Giants have completed the building of Valhalla for the Gods. In payment, Wotan has promised them Freia. Fricka is wary of the consequences, but Wotan explains that he has never intended to fulfil the bargain – Loge will provide a cunning plan. Freia is terrified at the prospect of being taken by the giants. Gods and giants are all aware that Freia provides golden apples which, when eaten, provide eternal youth. Loge arrives with the solution. He tells them of Alberich, the gold, and his renunciation of love, and of a magic ring he has made. Fafner decides this would be preferable to having Freia. But they take her as a hostage meantime, and the gods immediately feel older. Wotan and Loge go underground to the dwarves’ lair, Nibelheim. Mime has used some of the gold to make a magic helmet, but Alberich seizes it and using it to make himself invisible, enslaves all the terrified Nibelung workers. Wotan and Loge persuade Alberich to show off the power of the helmet, so he turns himself into something big, a dragon, then something small, a toad. Loge now grabs the helmet, and Alberich is tied up and dragged to the surface. Alberich begs for his freedom, but the price is his hoard of gold. He uses the ring to summon the Nibelungs who pile it up, and Loge adds the helmet. Wotan then demands the ring, and as it is torn from his finger, Alberich places a curse on it before going. The giants come for the gold, and when Wotan tries to keep the ring he is told by Erda to yield. Fafner now kills Fasolt to get the ring for himself – the curse is taking effect. The gods, their youth restored, now enter Valhalla, though Loge goes his own way again.

The Cast

 a Nibelung
 god of thunder
 goddess of earth and wisdom
 a giant
 a giant
 a Rhinemaiden
 sister of Fricka and goddess of love and spring
 wife of Wotan and goddess of marriage
 god of joy and youth
 god of fire and cunning
 a Nibelung, Alberich's brother
 a Rhinemaiden
 a Rhinemaiden
 leader of the gods

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