An Introduction and Notes to

Richard Wagner's


Part 2: Rhinegold

By Larry Brown

Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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Numbers are to pages in the Andrew Porter translation (Norton publishers 1977), unless otherwise noted as SS, which indicates a quote from the translation by Spencer (see bibliography at the end of the notes for full credits).

Midi musical examples were created by Fabrizio Calzaretti.

Overview of the major themes of the four music-dramas:

RHINEGOLD (Das Rheingold)

Scene One

Scene Two

Scene Three

Scene Four

Summary: As a symbol, the Ring has many referents, different for each person who desires it: for Alberich the ring equals power through wealth; for Wotan the ring means securing power already held; for Fricka, power over an unfaithful husband; Fasolt sees it as an unsatisfactory substitute for Freia; Fafner sees only the value of the hoard. Later in the cycle, for Siegfried the ring will only mean the booty won from the dragon, and for Brünnhilde the ring will first be the symbol of Siegfried's love, and later his betrayal (when she sees it on his hand rather than on Gunther's).

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Versione italiana
Versione italiana

Copyright 1999 by Larry A. Brown