RICHARD WAGNER: Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold
In the first part of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold (1852), the unthinking actions of a Dwarf, a God and some Giants spark events that will eventually lead to the apocalypse.
Overture: Fast, flowing cellos represent river Rhine.
Rhine maidens guard magic gold that grants ultimate power.
Why does that gold exist? Why has it not been destroyed? There’s not even been any singing yet, and it’s clear things are gonna go badly, badly wrong!!!
Alberich the dwarf wants the gold.
(TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY: Denounce love, get gold.)
Alberich denounces love in order to get gold:
“Thus I curse love”.
Nope, totally don’t see how this could possibly go wrong.
Fashions gold into a ring.
Wotan (Odin) has commissioned giants to build a huge castle (Valhalla).
He offers his wife’s sister as payment to the giants.
Wotan’s wife intervenes.
Wotan, put Freia down. You cannot sell the Goddess of Love to some random Giants…
Giants still want to be paid, so Wotan then tricks Alberich into turning himself into a toad.
No, Alberich! Don’t turn yourself into a toad! Wotan’s gonna steal your…
Wotan steals Alberich’s ring.
Understandably, Alberich is a bit miffed, so he placed a curse on the ring!
Curse: anyone who owns the ring will be blinded by its power!
Wotan gives ring to giants.
Wotan? What are you doing? WOTAN! STAHP!!!
Giants fight over ring, one dies.
Well done, Wotan. Well done.
[SPOILER WARNING: You’ve just triggered the apocalypse]
Moral of the story: greed and power-hungriness are bad.
BETTER MORAL OF THE STORY: Never hang around with Norse Gods.