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DIE RING-TRILOGIE

Music and Text by Richard Wagner (1848-74)

Conception by Tatjana Gürbaca, Bettina Auer und Constantin Trinks

In German with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Friday, 1 December 2017, 7 pm

Performances: 7 / 17 / 29 December 2017, 7 pm

                                                                                     Siegfried

                                                                                     Brünnhilde                                                                                   

 

                                                                                               

Die Ring-Trilogie

Richard Wagner’s magnum opus, the Ring Tetralogy, occupied, tortured and inspired him for all of 26 years: between the first draft in revolution year 1848 of a drama about Siegfried titled Siegfrieds Tod and completion of the Götterdämmerung score in 1874 lay a quarter of a century – albeit with lengthy interruptions in the work. Strangely, then, Wagner began his telling of the Nibelung saga at the end, expanding it as more and more background became necessary until the Rheingold was written. Considering this protracted, meandering composition history it is no wonder that jumps, breaks and gaps appear in the intricately woven plot that leave plenty of room for interpretation. The Ring is a drama of worlds, a story of humanity and a criticism of capitalism; it tells of hunger for power and abuse of power, of greed for money, a delight in destruction, the eternal cycle of violence and not least of a family tragedy played out over three generations.

The Ring Trilogy, which was developed especially for the Theater an der Wien, explores the question of how the actions and guilt of the grandfathers’ generation – Wotan and Alberich – influence the lives of the following generations at both a political and a private level; how the younger family members fail to escape from the consequences of these deeds despite desperate efforts to resist them; and how they are sucked further in the more they try to fight. Consequently, this version of the Ring dares to try something entirely new: In order to tell the story of the Ring from the perspective of the younger protagonists with the spotlight on Hagen, Siegfried and Brünnhilde, several scenes were cut and other parts rearranged. As in Wagner’s original work, each evening begins with the final catastrophe, the killing of Siegfried, before moving on to focus on the memories of the various characters.

Content

It starts with a murder. Hagen, half-brother to the Gibichungs and the chief of strategy at their court on the Rhine, kills Siegfried from behind while Brünnhilde looks on. – How did it come to this? Hagen remembers how his father Alberich came to him one night and whispered to him that it was his task to murder Siegfried and so recapture the ring – in other words, world domination – for his father. A bleak, traumatic scene in which Alberich openly admits that he fathered his son for this sole purpose and “raised him to implacable hate” in order to use him for his own vengeance. Hagen, the joyless one, digs deeper into his memory and consequently into the primeval mud of the story of the ring: Alberich, finally renouncing love once and for all, stole the Rhine gold to forge the ring from it. In the battle for absolute power, Alberich enslaved the Nibelungs and abused his brother Mime until he was eventually tricked by his rival Wotan and the latter’s crafty counsellor Loge who took everything from him: power, dignity and wealth. The humiliated Alberich responded with a dreadful curse: everyone will yearn for the ring, but it would bring death to whomever had it in his possession. The trail of blood left by the ring will be long.

Hagen, the son, is now expected to avenge the dispossession of his father by killing Wotan’s son Siegfried. Under the pretext of helping to find the best wife for his half-brother Gunther and the best husband for his half-sister Gutrune, Hagen hatches a terrible plot with a view to finally taking the ring from Siegfried. Gutrune is to marry “the strongest hero Siegfried” and Gunther “the most splendid woman in the world”, Brünnhilde. To accomplish this, Hagen pulls out all the stops: he lies, cheats and manipulates everyone involved. When Brünnhilde and Gunther realise that they have lost everything, even their self-respect, they swear to have their revenge and see Siegfried dead.

The story of the eternal struggle for power from the loser’s perspective unites scenes from Wagner’s Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, that is from the beginning and the end of his stage spectacle The Ring of the Nibelung.

Cast

Conductor

Constantin Trinks

Biography
Director

Tatjana Gürbaca

Biography
Set design

Henrik Ahr

Biography
Costume design

Barbara Drosihn

Biography
Light design

Stefan Bolliger

Biography
Dramaturgy

Bettina Auer

Biography
Hagen

Samuel Youn

Biography
Siegfried

Daniel Brenna

Biography
Brünnhilde

Ingela Brimberg

Biography
Wotan

Aris Argiris

Biography
Alberich

Martin Winkler

Biography
Mime

Marcel Beekman

Biography
Loge

Michael J. Scott

Biography
Gutrune

Liene Kinca

Biography
Gunther

Kristján Jóhannesson

Biography
Woglinde

Mirella Hagen

Biography
Floßhilde

Ann-Beth Solvang

Biography
Wellgunde

Raehann Bryce-Davis

Biography
Orchestra

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Biography
Choir

Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)

Biography

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