Der Ring des Nibelungen

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Ring des Nibelungen, Der (The Nibelung's Ring). 4 operas (mus. dramas) by Wagner, to his own libs., which he called a ‘stage festival for 3 days with a preliminary evening’ (Ein Bühnenfestspiel für drei Tage und einen Vorabend). The cycle, often referred to as ‘the tetralogy’, is based on versions of the Scandinavian saga of the Nibelungs involving gods and mortals. Among the characters in the operas are Wotan, Alberich, Siegfried, Mime, Siegmund, Loge, Brünnhilde, Fricka, Hagen, Gutrune, Sieglinde, Freia, Fasolt, Fafner, Donner, and the Valkyries. The 4 operas, with details of their f.ps., are: Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), prol. in 1 act, comp. 1853–4, prod. Munich 1869, Bayreuth (as part of complete Ring) 1876, London 1882, NY 1889; Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), 3 acts, comp. 1854–6, prod. Munich 1870, Bayreuth (as part of complete Ring) 1876, NY (incomplete) 1877, London 1882; Siegfried, 3 acts, comp. 1856–7, 1864–71, prod. Bayreuth (as part of complete Ring) 1876, London 1882, NY 1887; Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), 3 acts, comp. 1869–74, prod. Bayreuth (as part of complete Ring) 1876, London 1882, NY Met 1888. Writing and comp. of The Ring occupied Wagner intermittently from 1848 to 1874.

The 1st complete Ring cycle, sung in Ger., at Bayreuth was cond. Hans Richter on 13, 14, 16, and 17 Aug. 1876. The first cycle to be perf. in London was at Her Majesty's, cond. Anton Seidl, on 5, 6, 7, and 9 May 1882. Seidl also cond. (heavily cut) first cycle at NY Met on 4, 5, 8, and 11 March 1889 (although there had been perfs. of the cycle excluding Das Rheingold in 1887–8, also under Seidl). F. uncut Amer. p. 1898–9, cond. Schalk. First CG cycle in June 1892, cond. Mahler, but given out of sequence. First cycle in Eng. trans. at CG cond. Richter, 1908, and in Brit. provinces by Denhof Co. in Edinburgh 1910, cond. Balling (Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow 1911, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool 1912); in Bradford 1933, cond. Robert Ainsworth and A. Coates. No further perfs. in provinces until Scottish Opera cycle (in Ger.) in Glasgow, Dec. 1971. F.ps. of new Eng. trans. by Andrew Porter for ENO 1970–3, complete cycle, London, July-Aug. 1973.

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