Opéra de Montréal presents

Das Rheingold

A legendary saga featuring powerful voices!

In the waters of the Rhine, deformed dwarf Alberich steals the gold he needs to forge a ring that will make him ruler of the world if he renounces love. Wotan, ruler of the gods, in turn steals Alberich’s gold, using it to pay for his luxurious fortress, the seat of his power. Stripped of his ring, the dwarf curses all those who wear it.

Wagner’s masterful work returns to the Opéra de Montréal for the first time in over 20 years. Das Rheingold, the first part of Wagner’s tetralogy, is a true parable of the history of the world and was a source of inspiration for The Lord of the Rings. Bewitching music sung by mythical creatures makes for a total experience in a world in which gods, humans, and giants cross paths.

Scene I – At the bottom of the Rhine
The three Rhine maidens, Woglinde, Wellgunde, and Flosshilde, are swimming in the depths of the river. Alberich, the hunchbacked Nibelung, asks the maidens if he can join in their play; however, they are repelled by the sight of him. Flosshilde warns the other sisters that they must guard the Rhinegold, in case Alberich decides to take it. The maidens realize that Alberich desires not the gold but them, so they begin to tease him. Alberich is frustrated by the maidens but then notices the sun shining on the gold among the rocks. Alberich overhears that he who can make a ring from the gold will become master of the world. Seizing the opportunity, Alberich makes off with the gold, laughing as the maidens call for help.

Scene II – An open space on the mountain tops
Wotan, the chief of the gods, lies sleeping with his consort Fricka beside him. The giants, Fasolt and Fafner, have just built Valhalla, the new home of the gods, for Wotan. In payment, he has offered them Freia, the goddess of Youth and Fricka’s sister. Fricka is greatly upset when she learns of this bargain, but Wotan promises never to surrender Freia to the giants. Freia arrives, begging protection from Fafner and Faslot, who follow soon after. Wotan tells them they must choose a prize other than Freia. Donner and Froh, the thunder and rainbow gods, arrive to protect Freia. Loge, the god of fire, enters, claiming to have tested the workmanship of Valhalla and having found no reason for Wotan to withdraw from the promise he made to the giants. Loge then tells Wotan that Alberich has stolen the Rhinegold and made a ring from it; if the gods do not succeed in getting the treasure back, they will soon all be slaves to the Nibelung. Overhearing this, the giants decide to accept the gold as payment instead of Freia. When Wotan insists that the gold is not for them to have, the giants carry off Freia, saying they will bring her back if the gold is theirs by evening. Without Freia’s youth-giving power, the gods begin to age.  Wotan asks Loge to go with him to Nibelheim, Alberich’s home, to get the gold.

Scene III – A subterranean cavern
Having forged the ring, Alberich reigns supreme in his kingdom. Mime, Alberich’s brother, has fashioned the Tarnhelm, a magic helmet enabling the wearer to become invisible or to change into any shape. Realizing the helmet’s power, Alberich takes it and, making himself invisible, thrashes his brother for having been unwilling to give it to him. Wotan and Loge arrive as Alberich departs.  Mime complains of Alberich’s tyranny to the two gods. Alberich, now visible again, returns and boasts of his power, threatening to take over the world and vanquish the gods. Loge asks Alberich how, despite being all-powerful, he will be able to protect himself while asleep. Alberich responds by demonstrating the Tarnhelm’s power, turning himself into a dragon. Loge feigns terror and then asks if the Tarnhelm can also be used to turn Alberich into something small, such as a toad. Alberich promptly goes about demonstrating this whereupon Wotan places his foot on Alberich, while Loge takes the Tarnhelm. As Alberich resumes his form, he is bound and carried away by the two gods.

Scene IV – An open space on the mountain tops
Wotan and Loge mock Alberich’s claims of world domination; to win his freedom, he will have to give up the gold. Alberich agrees, consoling himself with the thought that he can use the ring to create more wealth. He summons his slaves to bring up the gold but Wotan demands the ring as well.  The gods have to take the ring from Alberich by force, at which he casts a curse on it. Freia returns with the giants but they refuse to relinquish her unless the gold can completely hide her from sight. The treasure is piled up but the Tarnhelm has to be added in order to hide Freia’s hair. Her eyes remain visible through a chink in the pile and Fafner demands that the ring be used to fill the gap. Wotan refuses, but Erda, the earth goddess, appears and counsels him to give up the ring, warning him that keeping it will bring an end to the gods. Wotan heeds her advice; he throws the ring onto the pile. Freia rejoins the gods as Fasolt and Fafner begin to bicker over the treasure. A fight ensues and Fasolt is killed by Fafner, who tears the ring off his brother’s finger, packs up the treasure, and leaves. Alberich’s curse has claimed its first victim. Donner uses his thunder and lightning to clear the sky. The clouds part to reveal a rainbow bridge stretching over the Rhine valley to Valhalla. The gods walk in procession across the bridge while Wotan sings a tribute to their castle. Only Loge seems uncertain, being the last to nonchalantly join the others. As the gods make their way across the bridge, the Rhinemaidens can be heard lamenting their lost gold…

Language: German with English and French surtitles
Duration: 2:30 without intermission

For information and tickets: www.placedesarts.com  514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

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