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DIE RING-TRILOGIE

Music and Text by Richard Wagner (1848-74)

Conception by Tatjana Gürbaca, Bettina Auer and Constantin Trinks

In German with German surtitles

Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Saturday, 2 December 2017,

6.30 pm until 10.30 pm (two intermissions)

Performances: 9 / 18 / 30 December 2017, 6.30 pm

                                                                                        Hagen

                                                                                        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

Siegfried, the dragon slayer and “strongest hero”, Siegfried who never knew his parents, is murdered by Hagen. Brünnhilde looks on. As he dies, Siegfried thinks back to his youth. – Far away from civilisation, he grew up under the care of Mime. The older he grows, the more pressing the question of his identity becomes for Siegfried. In the end he forces Mime to tell him about his true parents: Sieglinde and Siegmund met each other in appalling circumstances. She had been forced to marry Hunding and was very unhappy, while he was on the run and in mortal danger. Magically drawn to one another, they secretly discovered their shared history: they are twins, children of Wotan, who had been separated as infants. They rapturously declare their love for one another. As they fled from Hunding, the valkyrie Brünnhilde wanted to shelter Siegmund and Sieglinde, who was now with child. But Wotan, with heavy heart, decided that Hunding should win the battle and caused Siegmund’s sword to shatter. Brünnhilde was only able to save Sieglinde who, as she later lay dying, entrusted her child to Mime’s care.

Now that he knows his parentage, Siegfried wants to make his way in the world. He defeats the dragon Fafner. From the treasure of the Nibelungs that the dragon guarded he takes only the Tarnhelm and the ring. When Siegfried sees through Mime’s treacherous plans to obtain gold and power by using him, he kills his foster father. Without recognising him, Siegfried encounters Wotan, his grandfather, who is dressed as a wanderer and is still pursuing his master plan to regain world domination and the treasure. Wotan tries to stop Siegfried from going on, but Siegfried rebels against the “old man”; he is in a hurry to find “the most splendid woman Brünnhilde”. Together, Brünnhilde and Siegfried discover love. A brief moment of utopia.

Scenes from The Valkyrie are interwoven in the story of Siegfried’s development, who even as a member of the third generation cannot escape the deadly structures and continues the eternal cycle of violence.

Cast

Conductor

Constantin Trinks

Biography
Director

Tatjana Gürbaca

Biography
Stage design

Henrik Ahr

Biography
Costume design

Barbara Drosihn

Biography
Light design

Stefan Bolliger

Biography
Dramaturgy

Bettina Auer

Biography
Siegfried

Daniel Brenna

Biography
Sieglinde

Liene Kinca

Biography
Hunding / Fafner

Stefan Kocan

Biography
Brünnhilde

Ingela Brimberg

Biography
Wotan

Aris Argiris

Biography
Mime

Marcel Beekman

Biography
Siegmund

Daniel Johansson

Biography
Waldvogel

Mirella Hagen

Biography
Orchestra

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Biography

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