Robert Lepage’s acclaimed new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is preceded by the broadcast of award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke’s documentary “Wagner’s Dream,” which chronicles the backstage story of the creation of this ambitious new staging of the cycle.
This is the third time a complete Ring cycle has aired on PBS. In 1983, GREAT PERFORMANCES aired Patrice Chereau’s production of the Ring conducted by Pierre Boulez from the Bayreuth Festival, and in 1990, LIVE FROM THE MET (the precursor of GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET) presented Otto Schenk’s Metropolitan Opera production, conducted by James Levine.
Take a Backstage look, as Robert Lepage, opera artists and the Met try to fulfill Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.
The stakes could not be higher as visionary director Robert Lepage, several of the world’s greatest operatic artists and the Metropolitan Opera tackle Wagner’s Ring cycle. An intimate look at the enormous theatrical and musical challenges of staging opera’s most monumental work, Susan Froemke’s documentary chronicles the quest to fulfill Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.
Learn how the theft of Rhine gold sets in motion a chain of misery and destruction.
In the first opera in the Ring cycle, the gods of Valhalla clash with underworld dwarves and brawny giants, with disastrous consequences. The evil Alberich steals gold from the Rhine and uses it to forge a ring of unimaginable power. Wotan, the king of the gods, uses magic to steal the ring, but Alberich places a curse that guarantees misery for whoever wears it. Wotan’s unwillingness to part with the ring leads him to break a contract with the giants who have built the gods’ new castle in the sky, setting in motion a chain of events that will end in his own destruction. James Levine conducts, with Wendy Bryn Harmer (Freia), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Richard Croft (Loge), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Franz-Josef Selig (Fasolt) and Hans-Peter König (Fafner).
Find out how Siegmund and Sieglinde’s forbidden love causes Brünnhilde’s downfall.
The mysterious hero Siegmund finds shelter in the strangely familiar arms of a lonely woman named Sieglinde. Their forbidden love leads Wotan’s daughter, the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, to defy morality and intervene on behalf of the hero. Brünnhilde’s transgression forces her father to choose between his love for his favorite daughter and his duty to his wife, the formidable goddess Fricka. Overcome with grief, Wotan takes away Brünnhilde’s godlike powers and puts her to sleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of magic fire that can be crossed only by the bravest of heroes. James Levine conducts, with Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan) and Hans-Peter König (Hunding).
Watch the hero Siegfried slay a dragon and cross through magic fire to awaken Brünnhilde.
The young hero Siegfried grows up in the wilderness, raised by Alberich’s conniving brother Mime. He puts together the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, uses it to slay the fearsome dragon Fafner and takes the ring for himself. To fulfill his destiny, he must overcome one more opponent — Wotan, now disguised as the Wanderer, who knows the world of the gods is coming to an end — and cross through the magic fire to awaken his true love, Brünnhilde. Fabio Luisi conducts, with Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (The Wanderer) and Eric Owens (Alberich).
See how the curse of the ring leads to global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods.
Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s love is torn apart by the curse of the ring. A trio of scheming humans separates the two heroes in a desperate attempt to steal the ring for themselves. Their villainous plan fails, but they succeed in murdering Siegfried. Heartbroken, Brünnhilde takes the ring and leaps into the hero’s funeral pyre, causing a global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods. Fabio Luisi conducts, with Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune), Waltraud Meier (Waltraute), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Iain Paterson (Gunther), Eric Owens (Alberich) and Hans-Peter König (Hagen).