19 Apr 2009

Der Ring des Nibelungen

“From the womb of Night and Death was spawned a race that dwells in Nibelheim (Nebelheim), i.e. in gloomy subterranean clefts and caverns: Nibelungen are they called; with restless nimbleness they burrow through the bowels of the earth, like worms in a dead body; they smelt and smith hard metals.

The pure and noble Rhine-gold Alberich seized, divorced it from the waters’ depth, and wrought there from with cunning art a ring that lent him rulership of all his race, the Nibelungen: so he became their master, forced them to work for him alone, and amassed the priceless Nibelungen-Hoard, whose greatest treasure is the Tarnhelm, conferring power to take on any shape at will, a work that Alberich compelled his own brother Reigin (Mime = Eugel) to weld for him. Thus armoured, Alberich made for mastery of the world and all that it contains.”

Thus Richard Wagner began his The Nibelungen-Myth. As Sketch for a Drama. Our current theme explores the four works comprising Der Ring des Nibelungen through which Wagner sought to present “the interplay of eternal forces affecting the relation of human beings to God, to nature, and to each other in society.” Donald Jay Grout & Hermine Weigel Williams, A Short History of Opera (4th ed. 2003), p. 451. Here, we traverse the Ring with Wolfgang Sawallisch’s 1968 performances in Rome.

  1. Das Rheingold — Rome 1968
  2. Die Walküre — Rome 1968
  3. Siegfried — Rome 1968
  4. Götterdämmerung — Rome 1968