Navigation for Wagner’s Ring Cycle

The Ring: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)


The Ring: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)

Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried

Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried Photo: Arthur Rackham, Public Domain

From the utter darkness of its opening bass E-flat, sustained over 163 bars, the beginning of Wagner’s Rheingold rises to a glorious radiance speaking of the creation of a vast new world.

A world of gods, heroes, dwarfs, giants, nature spirits and magic.

Throughout all the long and tangled strands of 'The Ring Cycle', the thing to remember is that the waters of the Rhine, representing all that is good and joyful and natural and innocent, is the beginning place.

The whole drama swings on the struggles between those who want this joy and peace to return, and those who will destroy it with their greed, pride and political ambition.

Even the Rhinegold in its unformed state is simply a beautiful thing, admired by the Rhinemaidens as a natural wonder.

Erica Challis takes us through the story and music of the first of Wagner's epic four 'Ring Cycle' operas.