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Wagner's RING - A Tale Told In Music Season 1

4 Episodes Opera, Music, Arts, Documentary

Wagner’s Ring - A Tale Told in Music is a 4 episode series in which Heath Lees guides the viewer through each of the four operas of Wagner’s Ring, explaining the motifs and how Richard Wagner created the music to tell his epic story.

Episodes

The Rhinegold

38m

The Rhinegold is where everything in The Ring starts. Wagner creates three different worlds — Gods, Dwarves and Giants — all of them locked together in a struggle to gain ownership of the Ring, which will give its owner the power to rule the world. Many of the musical themes come to the fore in this opera, ready to be transformed and developed in the following three operas.

The Valkyrie

42m

In The Valkyrie, human beings first appear in the story, along with other new characters, especially the godly warrior-women called the Valkyrie. All these characters, humans and goddesses, are part of All-Father Wotan’s plan to win back the Ring and so redeem the world. The plan goes hugely wrong, and the world’s redemption is consigned to an unborn-baby to be called Siegfried. Some of Wagner’s best-ever music can be heard in this opera.

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries take their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin.

Siegfried

44m

The third opera in The Ring centres around its title-character Siegfried, who we first see as an unruly, uneducated and unlikeable boy. By the end of the opera, Siegfried has become heroic, killing a dragon, walking through a blazing fire, and winning the hand of the fair Brünnhilde. Wagner’s music is almost childlike to begin with, but gradually it grows more passionate and symphonic as the hero meets Brünnhilde and falls in love.

Twilight of the Gods

37m

Twilight by name, twilight by nature. Wagner’s fourth and last opera of The Ring is full of a gloomy sense of closure. This is the end of the cycle and the world goes up in flames, the gods perish, and Brünnhilde sacrifices herself to restore the ring to the Rhine. In this opera, some of Wagner’s longest, most stunning musical effects take place, particularly in the last few minutes, when the world disappears in smoke and flame and a new order is born.

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