Ring-Trilogie_2017/18_1280x680_1718 © beyond | Emmanuel Polanco | colagene.com


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: Sunday, 3 December 2017, 6.30 pm

Performances: 10 / 19 / 31 December 2017, 6.30 pm



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.


Brünnhilde looks on as Siegfried, the man she loves, is murdered by Hagen. She recalls the last dispute she had with her father Wotan that changed her life so completely. The wild valkyrie and acknowledged favourite daughter of her father had disobeyed his orders and tried to save the two lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde in the fight against Hunding. Wotan could not forgive her this emancipatory disobedience and intended to inflict a dreadful punishment on her. Cut off from everybody else, she was to be put to sleep – utterly at the mercy of any man who found her. But when Wotan heard that Sieglinde was expecting a child by Siegfried, the next hero, he changed the punishment: the sleeping Brünnhilde was now to be protected by a ring of fire that only a “fearless, freest hero” could cross. And that could only be Siegfried.

Brünnhilde feels irrevocably bound to Siegfried by love and so invincible that she can let him go to perform “new deeds”. At their parting, he gives her the ring as a gift, and she gives him her horse Grane. Waltraute, a valkyrie sister of Brünnhilde’s, pays her a clandestine visit to report to her on the disastrous state that Wotan and the world are in. She tells Brünnhilde to return the ring to the Rhinemaidens, but Brünnhilde refuses to take responsibility for Wotan’s old faults. She insists on her pledge of love. A stranger appears, overpowers her and tears the ring from her grasp. It is Siegfried, who has taken on the form of Gunther with the help of the Tarnhelm. He has come to take Brünnhilde to marry his blood brother Gunther. When the new couples Siegfried-Gutrune and Gunther-Brünnhilde are about to celebrate their double weddings, the cruel deception becomes apparent. Brünnhilde denounces the treachery, Hagen breeds discord. After he has killed Siegfried, everything falls apart. Brünnhilde throws the old world on the fire; the days of the gods are over. Is it now possible for something new to begin?

The final evening of the trilogy, in which old structures and the old balance of power are overcome, recounts a scene from The Valkyrie combined with large parts of Götterdämmerung from a woman's perspective.



Constantin Trinks


Tatjana Gürbaca

Stage design

Henrik Ahr

Costume design

Barbara Drosihn

Light design

Stefan Bolliger


Bettina Auer


Ingela Brimberg


Aris Argiris


Daniel Brenna

Waltraute / Floßhilde

Ann-Beth Solvang


Samuel Youn


Kristján Jóhannesson


Liene Kinca


Mirella Hagen


Raehann Bryce-Davis


ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien


Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)


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