Wagner's most famous opera cycle: The Ring of the Nibelung

A revolution in music history in a brilliant performance by the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra

"The Ring of the Nibelung" ("Der Ring des Nibelungen") is a cycle of four operas composed by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) between 1848 and 1874. Unusually in the history of music, Wagner, a prolific intellectual, also wrote the libretto for his operas. This was the most ambitious project of the composer, who saw it as his "total work of art" and, after having searched unsuccessfully for a theatre worthy of hosting the creation of this tetralogy, undertook to have one built according to his artistic and technical wishes in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth. The Bayreuth Festival Hall is still the venue for one of the world's most popular classical music festivals, the Bayreuther Festspiele. Wagner revolutionised the concept of opera: for him, it is no longer a mere entertainment, but a musical drama in which the orchestra is as important as the singers; each character, object or feeling is evoked by a leitmotif that reappears and changes in the course of the piece. Excerpts from his operas have been used in various films, the best known of which is of course the theme of the "Ride of the Valkyries" in Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now". The story of the Ring is inspired by various myths and legends, including the "Nibelungen Song", a Germanic poem from the Middle Ages. The Nibelung Ring is a magical ring, forged from the gold kept by the Rhine Girls, and then cursed by its first owner: from then on, the Ring will attract the assassin. The Ring then changes hands between dwarves, gods, giants, dragons and humans, including the famous Siegfried, a fearless warrior. Siegfried is the lover of the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, who plays a major role in the outcome of the story. The operas in the Ring cycle are, in order - Prologue: "The Rhinegold" ("Das Rheingold") - First Day: "Die Walküre - Second Day: "Siegfried" - Third Day: "Twilight of the Gods" ("Götterdämmerung") The performances of Richard Wagner’s "Ring" cycle in Stuttgart showed in this collection created a sensation unheard of since the monumental “century” Ring in Bayreuth in the late seventies. "Four operas – four stage directors" was the artistic idea behind the 1999/2000 cycle under the musical direction of Lothar Zagrosek. Appreciating the individual operas of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" without having to relate to previous or subsequent storylines enabled the stage directors – handpicked among the successful Stuttgart Opera team surrounding Artistic Director Klaus Zehelein – to express their individual insights into the well-known drama of Siegfried and Wotan. In 2002 German critics voted Stuttgart’s Staatsoper "Opera House of the Year" for the fourth time in five years. This series was recorded live at revival performances in 2002 and 2003, and it pays tribute to the artistic and musical achievement of the Stuttgart Opera House and a wonderful cast of singers, like Albert Bonnema, Roland Bracht, Hernan Iturralde, Franz-Josef Kapellmann, Luana DeVol, Eva-Maria Westbroek.