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Das Rheingold
Dayton Opera

Das Rheingold

Music and Libretto Richard Wagner
Performed in German with English supertitles

Kathleen Clawson, Artistic Director, Dayton Opera
Dr. Ron Anderson and Robb Sloan-Anderson Chair

Neal Gittleman, Artistic Director and Conductor, Dayton Philharmonic

About the Opera

In a world of gods, dwarves, and giants, Das Rheingold (The Gold from the Rhine) sets the stage for Wagner’s epic masterwork, The Ring Cycle, a saga of godly battles, family drama, and the power to rule the world.

The story begins when the dwarf Alberich renounces love and steals the magical gold guarded by three Rhine nymphs. From this gold, he has a ring forged, which will give him dominion over the world. Wotan, the ruler of the gods, lusts after the ring and breaks his own laws to obtain it. Alberich puts a curse on the ring, which sets into motion the rest of the saga.

The story is brought to life through the interweaving of distinct musical catchphrases (known as leitmotifs) that represent each character. Experience this groundbreaking “total work of art” which fully integrates music, words, drama, costume, and set design in a sweeping, intense marathon of sight and sound that paved the way for modern-day fantasy tales like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and more. 

Performance Sponsors

Thank you to the following sponsors for their support of this performance

The Harry A. and Virginia B. Toulmin, Jr. Fund of the Dayton Foundation

Dr. Ron Anderson and Robb Sloan-Anderson

The Jacqueline E. Lockwood Family Trust

The Opera Guild of Dayton

The Jesse and Caryl Philips Foundation

The Schiewetz Foundation

The AES Ohio Foundation

The Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association

Composer & Librettist

Scene One 
Three water nymphs (Rhine Maidens) guard magical gold in the depths of the Rhine. Alberich, a Nibelung dwarf, sees the gold and lewdly flirts with the Rhine Maidens in a failed attempt to get the gold. When they spurn his advances, he steals the gold and renounces love to claim the gold’s power, forging a ring that will give him dominion over the world. 

Scene Two 
Wotan, the ruler of the gods, has hired the giants Fasolt and Fafner to build a mountaintop castle for the gods and has promised his sister-in-law, Freia, as payment for their work. Because of this, his wife, Fricka, is furious with him. He has sent his helper, Loge, the god of fire, to find an alternative payment to offer the giants. Loge returns to report that he has searched the world over but has found only one being who would choose wealth and power over love—the dwarf Alberich. Loge’s description of the ring and the riches Alberich has accumulated convinces the giants to accept this treasure in payment. They hold Freia as collateral until Wotan and Loge return with the gold. 

Scene Three 
Wotan and Loge descend to Nibelheim. Through the power of the ring, Alberich enslaves his brother Mime and all the Nibelungs. He has forced his Mime to make him the Tarnhelm, a magic helmet that allows him to shapeshift. Loge cleverly flatters Alberich and then tricks him into demonstrating the Tarnhelm. When Alberich turns himself into a toad, Wotan and Loge capture him and take him back to the mountaintop.

Scene Four 
Wotan and Loge demand that Alberich give up his treasure to obtain his freedom. He attempts to keep the ring, knowing its power will allow him to gain a fortune once more. Wotan tears the ring from Alberich’s hand, lusting for its wealth and power. Alberich puts his curse on the ring: it will bring only death and destruction to whoever wears it until it is back in his possession. Fasolt and Fafner return with Freia to claim their payment. Fasolt, reluctant to give up Freia, asks that the gold be piled up high enough to hide her from his sight. The giants demand the ring as well, but Wotan refuses. Erda, the earth goddess, appears and warns Wotan to heed the ring’s curse, telling him it will bring the end of the gods. Wotan gives up the ring. The giants begin dividing the treasure, and in a quarrel over the ring, Fafner kills Fasolt. Wotan realizes the power of Alberich’s curse. Loge forecasts a fiery end to the gods. As the Rhine Maidens mourn the loss of their gold, the gods enter their new home, Valhalla. 


The surtitle translations for this production are provided with permission from The Annotated Ring Cycle: The Rhine Gold by Frederick Paul Walter.

Take Note: Live at the Schuster!

Dayton Opera presents Take Note Talk live from the stage in the Schuster Center, from 6:30-7pm on Friday and 1:30-2pm on Sunday. Learn about the opera before the production begins with Don Fineberg and Kathleen Clawson! 

Post-Show Talk Backs

Stick around after the show for a Talk Back given from the stage in the Schuster Center with Neal Gittleman, Kathleen Clawson, and artists from the production!

Discover the 2023-2024 Opera Series

Live opera—combined with singing, music, dance, scenery, and costumes—is intoxicating, captivating, and a true spectacle to behold in the best sense of the word. 

In the 2023-2023 Season, Dayton Opera presents a trio of thrilling performances. The season begins with a Season Opening Celebration: Prince Orlofsky's Grand Masquerade in collaboration with Dayton Ballet and Dayton Philharmonic to bring Act 2 of Johann Strauss, II's Die Fledermaus (The Revenge of the Bat) to life.

Also featured on the opera stage is Stephen Sondheim's dark and comedic story of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; a tale of political intrigue, passion, and betrayal in Puccini's Tosca; and an intimate Opera Star Recital with Grammy Award-winning baritone Will Liverman.

Learn more and subscribe at daytonperformingarts.org/opera

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