Monday 22 June - Das Rheingold
The June 22 Screening of Das Rheingold is in association with the Wagner Society (Wellington Branch) whose members also pay the same amount as Opera Society Members for this screening viz: $18.00
June 24 – Das Rheingold – Wagner
Donald McIntyre – Wotan
Hanna Schwarz – Fricka
Hermann Becht – Alberich
Woglinde – Norma Sharp
Wellgunde – Ilse Gramatzi
Flosshilde – Marga Schiml
Heinz Zednik – Loge
Helmut Pampuch – Mime
Matti Salminen – Fasolt
Fritz Hübner – Fafner
Carmen Reppel – Freia
Siegfried Jerusalem – Froh
Martin Egel – Donner
Ortun Wenkel – Erda
Conductor – Pierre Boulez
Director – Patrice Chereau
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
1980 2hrs 23’
The is the first instalment of the classic Bayreuth Centenary Ring which was hugely controversial at the time but in retrospect established a new “norm” for future Ring productions. The direction by Patrice Chereau remains one of the most penetrating interpretations and the conducting by Pierre Boulez brought many new insights to Wagner’s music. The whole cycle has stood the test of time and represents one of the Twentieth Century’s golden ages of Wagner singing, with Donald McIntyre’s peerless assumption of the role of Wotan.
Beneath the waves of the Rhine the Rhinemaidens frolic. Their play is disturbed by the arrival of the dwarf Alberich. He vainly tries to grab them but each of them, in turn, taunt and tease him. The rising sun glints off the Rhinegold. The Rhinemaidens tell him that whoever fashions the gold in to a ring and foreswears love will rule the world. Alberich grabs the gold and curses love before vanishing back in to the earth.
On the mountain tops the dawn wakens the Gods who see that their new home Valhalla has been finished by the giants, Fasolt and Fafner. Wotan has promised them Freia, the goddess of youth as payment. Wotan’s wife Fricka berates him for making such a foolish bargain. Wotan is waiting for the demi-god Loge, the god of fire to return with an alternative fee.
The giants arrive pursuing Freia demanding their payment. Wotan tries to prevaricate but the giants will have none of it. When Loge arrives he casually mentions the fact that the Rhinemaidens have lost the gold. The giants agree to the gold instead of Freia but take her away as hostage until Wotan returns with the gold. As they leave with her the gods begin to feel the effects of aging.
Wotan decides to visit Alberich and wrest the gold from him.
Under the earth Alberich has enslaved his people, including his brother Mime. Among the items Mime has forged are the Tarnhelm, a helmet which allows the wearer to assume any shape of form, and a ring into which Alberich has poured all his venom and which he is using to control his slaves.
Wotan and Loge arrive. Loge questions whether the Tarnhelm is as great as Alberich maintains and so to demonstrate its power Alberich transforms himself in to a great dragon. Feigning fright Loge asks if the Tarmhelm can also make Alberich small. Alberich turns himself in to a frog whereupon Loge jumps on him and captures him. They all return to the surface.
Alberich is forced to yield the gold including the ring, but before he goes he places a curse on the ring – no one who possesses it will ever escape death.
The giants return and Wotan gives them the gold, trying to hold back the Tarnhelm and ring. Erde, the earth goddess rises and warns Wotan to yield the ring or else it will be the end of the gods. Wotan reluctantly relinquishes it. Its power is immediately felt when the giants fight over the gold and Fafner kills Fasolt.
As the gods enter their new home Valhalla across the Rainbow Bridge the Rhinemaidens are heard in the depths lamenting their loss of the gold.