Navigation for Wagner’s Ring Cycle

The Ring: Siegfried

Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried

Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried Photo: Arthur Rackham, Public Domain

In opera number three, we meet a new hero, Siegfried, son of the human lovers we met before, Siegmund and Sieglinde.

How will the Ring shape his fate?

Right through the events of The Valkyrie, the Ring has waited, guarded by the giant Fafner, now transformed into a dragon. He does nothing with it, content to include it in a treasure hoard along with the magical Tarnhelm.

This is where Siegfried opens – in a dark world of purposeful brooding – which is what this first motif on the bassoons is called. The tuba announces one of the themes of Nibelheim, filled with resentment and menace.

Nothing more would happen if left to Fafner, sulking on his pile of gold. But soon an active rhythm will cue us in to the main character making plans to get the Ring: the Nibelung smith Mime, brother of Alberich who first stole the Ring from the Rhinemaidens.

Continuing the epic journey, Erica Challis takes us through the story and music of the third of Wagner's four Ring Cycle operas.