Götterdämmerung

The final opera – The Twilight of the Gods.
About 4 hours 45 minutes plus two intervals. 
Three acts which relate the story of Siegfried and Brünnhildetale and the ed of the Gods.

Prologue – The World Tree
The three Norns, daughters of Erda, weave the rope of Destiny.They recap the past and signpost the future, ,but the rope breaks and the depart.

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Siegfried and Brünnhilde awake. Siegfried decides to depart immediately to seek adventure.  Brünnhilde reminds him to be loyal and he leaves her the ring as a token of his good faith.  He departs on Brünnhilde’s horse.

Act 1 – Hall of the Gibichungs
We meet the Gibichungs, Gunther, the lord of the Gibichungs, his half-brother, Hagen, and their sister Gutrune.  Hagen is up to no good and convinces Gunther he needs a wife and a husband must be found for Gutrune. He recommends Brünnhilde for Gunther and Siegfried for Gutrune. Handily enough, Gutrune has a love potion that she can use to bind Siegfried to her and make him forget Brünnhilde. This will allow Siegfried to win Brünnhilde for Gunther.

Siegfried arrives shortly thereafter and Gunther greets him.  Gutrune offers him the love potion and Siegfried falls into the trap.  He forgets Brünnhilde and falls in love with Gutrune. Siegfried offers to help Gunther find a wife and they set off for Brünnhilde’s rock.Gotterdammerung04_edited

Act 1 – Brünnhilde’s Rock
Brünnhilde is visited by her Valkyrie sister Waltraute, who tells her that Wotan’s spear has been broken. In his dispair Wotak has ordered the branches of the world tree to be piles around Valhalla and he has withdrawn there to await the end.

Waltraute begs Brünnhilde to return the ring to the Rhinemaidens but she refuses as it is  Siegfried’s token of love. Waltraute gives up and rides away.

Siegfried arrives in the form of Gunther courtesy of the Tarnhelm and claims Brünnhilde. She resists but is overpowered by Siegfried who takes the ring and puts it on his finger.

Act 2 – Hall of the Gibichungs
Hagen is visited by his father, Alberich who urges him to kill Siegfried and acquire the ring.  Siegfried teleports in via Tarnhelm leaving Gunther and Brünnhilde to travel by boat.

Gunther arrives with Brünnhilde, who is amazed to see Siegfried. She sees the ring on Siegfried’s finger amd realises she has been betrayed.

She accuses Siegfried who swears on Hagen’s spear that he is innocent.  Brünnhilde counters and swears an oath to the contrary on the point of same spear.

Siegfried leads Gutrune off to the wedding feast. Gunther agrees to Hagen’s suggestion that Siegfried must be killed. Brünnhilde tells Hagen that Siegfried would be vulnerable to a blow to the back.

Act 3 – The Rhine
The Rhinemaidens continue to mourn the lost Rhine gold. Siegfried. separated from the hunt, encounters them. They beg him to return the ring and so avoid its curse, but he declines. They leave, predicting Siegfried’s death.

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Siegfried rejoins the hunt.  Hagen gives him an antidote and he recalls discovering Brünnhilde. Hagen strikes him in the back with his spear. Siegfried dies, and his body is removed.

Act 3 – The Gibichungs Hall
Gutrune awaits Siegfried’s return and she is distraught when his body is carried in. Hagen claims Siegfried’s ring as spoils but Gunther objects and is killed by Hagen. Gutrune dies from her grief.

Brünnhilde orders a funeral pyre to be built by the river. She takes the ring and tells the Rhinemaidens to claim it from her ashes, once fire has cleansed it of its curse. She lights the fire and rides her horse into the flames.

The Rhinemaidens reclaim the ring, drowning Hagen as he tries to claim it for himself.   Valhalla bursts into flames as heavens and earth are cleansed for a nebeginning.

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