Der Ring des Nibelungen
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Der Ring des Nibelungen, commonly called in English by its translated title The Ring of the Nibelung, is a cycle of four epic music dramas. The operas are based loosely on figures and elements of Germanic paganism, particularly from the sagas and the Nibelungenlied. The cycle is often referred to as "The Ring Cycle", "Wagner's Ring", or simply "The Ring". (Several aspects of the word Nibelung frequently confuse native speakers of English, producing misrememberings and misunderstandings of the German title, the English title, or how to use the word outside the title.)
Richard Wagner wrote the libretti and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The four operas that constitute the Ring cycle are, in the order of the imagined events they portray:
- Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold)
- Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
- Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Each is often performed as a work in its own right, but the plot of each is implicit in the plot of the one that follows it, and attending a performance of each in the course of a week -- or at least within a few months of each other -- is widely considered at least a worthy goal by Wagner fans.