DEATH OF GODS
The third day of the tetralogy “Ring of the Nibelung” in three acts (five scenes) with a prologue
R. Wagner’s libretto
Brünnhild, Siegfried’s wife
Waltrauth, her sister, Valkyrie
Gutrun, his sister
Hagen, their half brother
Alberich, Nibelung (dwarf), father of Hagen
Three Norns, Goddesses of Fate
Three daughters of the Rhine
Soprano and viola
Soprano and viola
The action takes place on the banks of the Rhine in fairy-tale times.
At night on a rock on the banks of the Rhine, three norns spin the thread of the world’s
destinies. The end of the power of the gods is approaching: the supreme god Votan in his castle Valhalla, surrounded by gods and heroes, waits for the last day. His death is predetermined by a whole chain of crimes; and the first of these is the abduction of the golden ring by Nibelung Alberich. Once, to shackle from the gold of the Rhine, this ring, which gives untold riches and power over the world, Alberich denied love. Now over the ring gravitates a terrible curse, bringing death to anyone who wants to possess it. Suddenly, the thread of fate is torn – the real knowledge of the norns has come to an end; they disappear in the darkness. The sun rises. Siegfried says goodbye to Brünnhilde. The thirst for wanderings and knowledge of the world, which led him to the flame-surrounded rock, where the shroud of the Valkyrie Brünnhild rested, now draws Siegfried into the wide world. Putting a gold ring on his finger is a pledge of love, he goes down the Rhine. The river takes Siegfried to the castle of Gibichungs – there lives Gunter, his sister Gutrun and brother over the mother, a gloomy, sullen Hagen.
Gunter offers the hero hospitality and friendship. Gutruna brings Siegfried a horn of wine – and he instantly forgets his past: the cunning Hagen filled the horn with a drink of oblivion. Now Siegfried only dreams of Guthrune. Gunther agrees with him to be related, but let Siegfried earlier get him a beautiful Valkyrie Brunhilde: only an intrepid hero can pass through the fiery shaft surrounding the rock of the Valkyries. Having cemented his alliance with the oath of blood brotherhood, Siegfried sets out on a journey – a magic helmet that he obtained along with the Nibelungen treasure, killing the dragon who guarded them, will allow him to take on the form of Gunther. Hagen, triumphantly, waiting for their return. His plan is close to implementation: deceived Siegfried will bring Gunther his own wife, and he, Hagen, will have a golden ring, and he will become the lord of the world.
At this time, Brunnhilde, full of thoughts about Siegfried, admires the ring. In vain, the sister-Valkyrie begs her to return the ring to the daughters of the Rhine – only this can save from the death of her father Wotan and all the gods – Brunhilde does not want to part with the gift of the spouse. Suddenly a figure of the knight appears at the fiery shaft. Brunhild rushes to meet him, expecting to see Siegfried, and retreats in horror: in front of her stands an unfamiliar warrior in a golden helmet, who calls himself Gunter. After a short struggle, he grabs the ring from Brunghilde’s finger with a strong hand and takes it away with him.
In the darkness of the night sleeping Hagen is his father – Nibelung Alberich. Once he deceived and mortified a mortal woman so that his son would help him in the struggle against the gods for power over the world. Now the gold ring in Siegfried’s hands, but he does not know his magic power. Hagen must destroy Siegfried – and then Alberich will become the lord of the world. With the rising of the sun, the nibelung disappears. The joyful voice of the returning Siegfried is heard. Hagen trumpeted into the horn, calling the vassals – it’s time to prepare for the wedding. The triumphant Hunter leads Brünnhilde. She sees Siegfried in dismay, who does not recognize her and passionately embraces her wife-Guthrune. Brunhilde gives a solemn oath that Siegfried is her husband, but all in vain. And Brünnhild decides to take revenge. She convinces Hagen to kill Siegfried while hitting a spear in the back – otherwise the hero is invulnerable. Hunter,
Fought off hunters, Siegfried goes to the shore of the Rhine. Playful mermaids swim out to meet him and ask him to give the gold ring. Siegfried agrees. But as soon as the daughters of the Rhine said that along with the ring he gets rid of the deadly danger, as the hero once again puts the ring on his finger: no one dares to call him a coward. Lamenting Siegfried, the mermaids disappear in the waves of the Rhine. The hunters are gathering. They ask Siegfried to tell about his adventures and exploits. The hero begins the story of his childhood in the forest, about the dwarf Mime who raised him, about the dragon-giants who kept the gold treasure, about things the bird whose language he understands when he tasted the blood of the dragon he killed – and suddenly stops: he can not remember, which happened after the death of Mime. Hagen inconspicuously pours a magic drink into his horn and Siegfried remembers everything: and the fiery rock, and the sleeping Valkyrie, and his kiss that awakened Brunhild. Two crows flew over the forest with an ominous croaking. Siegfried listens to their screams, and at this time Hagen treacherously hits him in the back. With words of love for Brünnhilde, Siegfried dies.
And in the castle of Gibichungs Gutrun anticipates the evil. After seeing the mourning procession with Siegfried’s body, she falls unconscious. Between the brothers a quarrel broke out over the treasure of the Nibelungs, and Hagen kills Gunther. Then he bends down to take the ring from Siegfried’s hand, but the hand of the dead hero grows menacingly, and Hagen retreats in horror. Suddenly, among the grief-stricken people, there appears the calm and majestic Brunhild. She orders a funeral pyre on the banks of the Rhine: the golden ring will return to the bottom of the river, and the curse of Alberich will end, and the gods who committed so many crimes will perish in the cleansing fire. The bonfire flares up, and Brunhild in military armor on horseback rushes into the flames. The fire rises up to the sky; in it burns the palace of the gods – Valhalla. Hagen with a desperate cry grabs the ring, but waves pour a fire, and the daughter of the Rhine with a laugh carry Hagen to the bottom. The crimes on earth have ceased – the world injustice is redeemed by the death of the most glorious of the heroes, and the cursed ring of the nibelung again rests peacefully in the depths of the Rhine.