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The Ring Cycle

Love. Passion. Power. Rage. Revenge. 

This fall, delve into a universe full of passion and power. Travel back in time to when the world began.


Wagner's epic Ring Cycle is one of the greatest operatic works in existence.


Made from Rhine gold, coveted, fought over, cursed in anger: the Ring passes through the lives of magical beings and mortals alike, weaving together the narratives of four operas.


This week, watch Die Walküre, Act 3 ...

Last time on the Ring: Die Walküre, Act 2

Wotan’s favourite daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, has given her father a warning: his wife Fricka is on the warpath. And Fricka is enraged with good reason: she has discovered his affairs, including the one that led to the birth of the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde. She is even more outraged to find out that these two are in an incestuous union.

Wotan defends his infidelity by saying he simply wanted to protect his and Fricka’s future by creating the independent agent Siegmund, but Fricka remains unconvinced and wants Wotan to take Hunding’s side against his son in the impending fight.

Wotan confides in Brünnhilde, feeling the world is crumbling around him and fearing that Alberich will usurp his power in the end.

Meanwhile, Siegmund and Sieglinde are fleeing, but Sieglinde can go no further. Brünnhilde appears in a vision to warn him and to take him to Valhalla, but he refuses in order to stay by Sieglinde’s side, where he is defeated and killed by Hunding.

But not all hope is lost...

Previously: Das Rheingold

At the beginning of the world, the three Daughters of the Rhine guarded the pure gold in the river. Alberich, a dwarf-like being from the lower world called a Nibelung, managed to steal this eternal treasure, knowing that in doing so he would be foregoing love to obtain power.

While Alberich was off stealing the gold, Wotan was watching over his kingdom, the upper world. He had the giants Fasolt and Fafner build him a fortress, but then tricked them out of their payment. He had promised them Freia, his wife’s sister; now he had to depend on the fiery Loge to get him out of the worst deal he had ever made in his eternal life. Loge searched high and low to find someone who would forego love to obtain power, and the only one he found was Alberich. Wotan saw that this was a potential rival, and he knew he must confront the Nibelung.

Loge brought Wotan down into the lower world. There they found Alberich, who had enslaved his fellow Nibelungs to mine gold for him. Alberich’s brother Mime had made a ring out of the stolen Rhine gold. Alberich was using this ring to command the obedience of his followers. Mime had also made Alberich a magical helmet, and Alberich boasted that he could use the ring and helmet to conquer the world. But as he was showing off his newfound powers, Wotan captured him and took him back to his mountain top, where they fought for the all-powerful ring. Alberich cursed the ring as Wotan tore it from his finger.

Wotan has retreated with the rest of the Gods to their new stronghold of Valhalla. But he will soon grow restless in his refuge, and his enemies are waiting…

Previously: Die Walküre, Act 1

Wotan is growing restless in Valhalla. In the intervening years between Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, he fathered many children: nine Valkyries with the earth-mother Erda, and the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde with a mortal woman. These twins were separated as children, and Sieglinde has become the wife of Hunding, a descendant of the giants, trapped in a loveless marriage.

Siegmund staggers into Sieglinde and Hunding’s home to seek refuge from his enemies. Hunding discovers that he and this stranger have been fighting on opposite sides and wants to kill Siegmund, in the morning, but he will allow him to stay the night due to the law of hospitality. Sieglinde intervenes and saves Siegmund by drugging her husband. Siegmund and Sieglinde realize they are twins but still fall deeply in love. When we see them at the end of this act, they are locked in an embrace...