The Nibelung Alberich steals the Rhine gold from the Rhinemaidens in order to forge the ring from it, which gives "immeasurable power". Meanwhile, Wotan, the father of the gods, is forced into action: in order to be able to pay the giants Fasolt and Fafner for the construction of Valhalla, the castle of the gods, he steals the treasure of the Nibelungs with the help of the cunning fire god Loge. Alberich curses the ring and all its future owners - the tragedy takes its course.

"Das Rheingold" forms the foundation of Wagner's epochal "Ring" tetralogy, which was written over a period of about a quarter of a century. Essential themes are exposed during this intermission- and breathless "eve," in view of the plot as well as the music. From a deep E-flat of the double basses, Wagner unfolds his own mythological world, whose rise and fall are brought before the eyes and ears with great urgency. It is a world of gods, giants, dwarfs and natural beings, strictly hierarchically domiciled on different levels, with many a potential for conflict. And although "Rheingold" certainly bears the traits of a fantasy story, much more develops from the events: a true world drama of enormous proportions and universal significance, which also has a great deal to say to our present day. Wagner's great family saga becomes an all-encompassing epic about power and love, war and peace, and the beneficial and disastrous effects of passions.

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