Ring Cycle

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Der Ring des Nibelungen [1] is a massive cycle of four music dramas by Richard Wagner to his own German libretto, completed in 1874 and first performed as a cycle at Bayreuth in August 1876.

The conception and composition of this Bühnenfestpiel ("stage festival play") spanned close to 30 years, and was based on German and Old Norse mythology as well as historical subjects. It requires four separate evenings, and at least 15 hours to perform.[2] The following four music dramas make up the Ring cycle:

  • Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold), Preliminary evening[3]
  • Die Walküre (The Valkyries), First evening
  • Siegfried, Second evening
  • Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), Third evening

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  1. Usually translated into English as The Ring of the Nibelung but more accurately as Nibelung's Ring.
  2. Millington, Barry. "Der Ring des Nibelungen," in New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 1994.
  3. Indications come originally from Wagner. It is officially a trilogy with "Rheingold" representing the prequel.