The Rheingold

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November 2022
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Synopsis

At the bottom of the River Rhine, three Rhinemaidens guard an invaluable treasure: the Rhinegold. Alberich, the Nibelung dwarf, is enchanted by the girls’ beauty, but after they mock him, his interest shifts to the glittering gold. The girls carelessly reveal the gold's secret: whoever forges it into a ring can use its power to rule the entire world. In order to do this, however, he must also renounce love forever. Alberich curses love and seizes the gold.

Wotan, ruler of the gods, finds himself being scolded by his wife,Fricka: earlier he had offered Fricka’s beautiful sister, Freia, to the two giants, Fasolt and Fafner, in exchange for building the gods’ castle. The castle is now ready, and the giants are ready to claim their fee. Loge, the god of fire and Wotan’s counsellor, suggests a different form of payment: the ring that Alberich has made from the Rhinegold and all the treasure that the ring's power has given him. The giants take Freia away in pledge, and in her absence, the gods must do without her golden apples, which they require in order to preserve their youth and strength.

In order to find and obtain the ring, Wotan and Loge set off toNibelheim, home of the Nibelungs, in the depths of the Earth. There they meet Mime, Alberich’s brother. Under Alberich's control, Mime, has crafted the Tarnhelm, a magical helmet which enables the wearer to take on any shape, and even to become invisible. He tells Wotan how Alberich has subjugated the Nibelungs, forcing them to serve him. Alberich arrives and mocks the gods. Loge cleverly asks him to show how the Tarnhelm works: Alberich first changes into a dragon, and then into a toad, whereupon the gods seize him. After being led up to the earth's surface from Nibelheim and forced to turn over his treasure to the gods, Alberich watches Wotan take the ring as well. Alberich curses it: its bearer can look forward to eternal woe and death!

The giants return for the gold. The gods are compelled to give them the Tarnhelm as well, but Wotan is unwilling to part with the ring. Erda, goddess of the Earth, appears and warns him that the ring will cause the downfall of the gods. Wotan reluctantly hands over the ring, and Alberich’s curse claims its first victim: Fafner kills his brother while arguing over the treasure.

While the Rhinemaidens lament the lost treasure, the gods enter their new home, Valhalla.

Program and cast

Wotan

Michele Kalmandy

Donner

Zsolt Haja

Froh

Dániel Pataky

Loge

Adrian Eröd

Alberich

Zoltán Kelemen

Mime

Tivadar Kiss

Fasolt

András Palerdi

Fafner

István Rácz

Fricka

Erika Gál

Freia

Orsolya Sáfár

Erda

Atala Schöck

Woglinde

Zita Váradi

Wellgunde

Lilla Horti

Flosshilde

Viktória Mester

Hungarian State Opera

The Opera House is not only one of the most significant art relic of Budapest, but the symbol of the Hungarian operatic tradition of more than three hundred years as well. The long-awaited moment in Hungarian opera life arrived on September 27, 1884, when, in the presence of Franz Joseph I. the Opera House was opened amid great pomp and ceremony. The event, however, erupted into a small scandal - the curious crowd broke into the entrance hall and overran the security guards in order to catch a glimpse of the splendid Palace on Sugar út. Designed by Mikós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lived up to the highest expectations. Ornamentation included paintings and sculptures by leading figures of Hungarian art of the time: Károly Lotz, Bertalan Székely, Mór Than and Alajos Stróbl. The great bronze chandelier from Mainz and the stage machinery moda by the Asphaleia company of Vienna were both considered as cutting-edge technology at that time.

 

Many important artists were guests here including Gustav Mahler, the composer who was director in Budapest from 1887 to 1891. He founded the international prestige of the institution, performing Wagner operas as well as Magcagni’ Cavalleria Rusticana. The Hungarian State Opera has always maintained high professional standards, inviting international stars like Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Monserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Cura, Thomas Hampson and Juan Diego Flórez to perform on its stage. The Hungarian cast include outstanding and renowed artists like Éva Marton, Ilona Tokody, Andrea Rost, Dénes Gulyás, Attila Fekete and Gábor Bretz.

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