Russia Theatre Opera Götterdämmerung


Richard Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung, the concluding work in his stage festival play Der Ring des Nibelungen, was premiered in Russia at the Mariinsky Theatre in November 1902. Wagner wrote the libretto himself, inspired by an old Scandinavian epic called the Edda and the thirteenth-century Song of the Nibelungs. The legend tells the story of Alberich the dwarf, who forges a ring from the gold of the Rhine. The ring gives him command over the whole world, in exchange for the rejection of love. The gods learn of the ring and trick it from Alberich. It carries a curse, however, and Wotan gives it away to the giants. The ring eventually finds its way back into the land of mortals, where the children of the gods also live. This curse of the ring destroys the lovers Siegfried and Brünnhilde and all the gods, before it returns to the waters of the Rhine. Flames engulf Valhalla, leaving a human world redeemed by love. The sets and costumes for the Russian production were designed by Alexander Benois. Although the artist was not entirely satisfied with his designs – "I was unable to achieve the main thing, a unifyng style" – he nevertheless regarded Götterdämmerung as his first serious work for the theatre and the opera enjoyed great success.

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