The Ring In A Day



Götterdämmerung. Act 3
During a boar hunt next to the Rhine, the Rhinemaidens nearly persuade Siegfried to return the Ring to them. Hagen gives Siegfried a drink containing an antidote to the previous potion, and he gradually remembers his previous life, and Brünnhilde. Hagen kills him, and then kills Gunther for refusing to allow him to take the Ring from Siegfried's corpse. Brünnhilde orders a funeral pyre to be built for Siegfried, and then with the Ring on her finger rides into the flames. The Rhine overflows, the Rhinemaidens take back the Ring, and Valhalla is consumed by fire. The old order of the Gods is destroyed.
Siegfried....Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor)
Gunther....Bodo Brinkmann (baritone)
Hagen....Philip Kang (bass)
Alberich....Günter von Kannen (bass)
Brünnhilde....Dame Anne Evans (soprano)
Gutrune....Eva-Maria Bundschuh (soprano)
Waltraute....Waltraud Meier (mezzo-soprano)
First Norn....Birgitta Svendén (soprano)
Second Norn....Linda Finnie (mezzo-soprano)
Third Norn....Uta Priew (contralto)
Woglinde....Hilde Leidland (soprano)
Wellgunde....Annette Küttenbaum (soprano)
Flosshilde....Jane Turner (mezzo-soprano)
Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim (conductor).

Götterdämmerung. Act 2
Alberich appears to his son Hagen, telling him to kill Siegfried and take the Ring. Brünnhilde sees Siegfried wearing the Ring, and demands to know where he got it. Siegfried swears an oath that he's never been parted from it, which Brünnhilde knows to be untrue. Hagen encourages Brünnhilde and Gunther to plot Siegfried's death - they'll strike him from behind with Hagen's spear.

Götterdämmerung. Prologue and Act 1
Three Norns, the guardians of fate, foresee disaster for the Gods. Brünnhilde spurs Siegfried on to heroic tasks, and he gives her the Ring as a pledge of his love. He arrives at the castle of the Gibichungs where Alberich's son Hagen lives in the household of his half brother and sister, Gunther and Gutrune. Hunding persuades Gunter that Brünnhilde would be a good bride for him, and Siegfried a good husband for Gutrune. Hagen gives Siegfried a drink containing a magic potion which makes him forget Brünnhilde, and he sets off to win her for Gunther.
Back at the rock, Brünnhilde refuses to lift the Ring's curse by giving it back to the Rhinemaidens: to her it is a symbol of Siegfried's love. Siegfried arrives, disguised by the Tarn helmet as Gunther. He overpowers her, and takes the Ring.

Interval. Twilight and Sunrise
Donald Macleod talks to Dame Anne Evans about the character of Brünnhilde, and to Daniel Barenboim about the enduring qualities of Wagner's music. And poet Mario Petrucci judges the winner of the Ring limerick competition.

Siegfried. Act 3
Wotan foresees that the inevitable union of Siegfried and Brünnhilde will mean an end to the rulership of the Gods, and tells Erda, Brünnhilde's mother, that human love will redeem the world. The woodbird leads Siegfried to the sleeping Brünnhilde, and Wotan's spear and the flames are no match for his determination. Siegfried wakes Brünnhilde, the first woman he has ever seen, and they sing a rapturous hymn to love.
Siegfried....Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor)
Mime....Graham Clark (tenor)
The Wanderer....John Tomlinson (bass)
Alberich....Günter von Kannen (bass)
Fafner....Philip Kang (bass)
Brünnhilde....Dame Anne Evans (soprano)
Erda....Birgitta Svendén (soprano)
Waldvogel....Hilde Leidland (soprano)
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim (conductor)


Siegfried.Act 2
Wotan and Alberich lie in wait by Fafner's cave, both wanting to get their hands on the gold and the Ring. Siegfried arrives and answers a woodbird's song with a call from his horn, which wakes the dragon. Siegfried kills the dragon, and on tasting his blood realises that he can understand the woodbird. It tells him of the gold, the Tarn helmet and the Ring, and that Mime is plotting to poison him. Siegfried kills Mime, another victim of the Ring's curse.

Siegfried.Act 1
Sieglinde has died giving birth to Siegfried, who is now being brought up by Alberich's brother Mime. Mime hopes that Siegfried will one day help him re-forge Siegmund's shattered sword, kill Fafner who has turned himself into a dragon, and steal back the gold and Ring - which Mime wants for himself.
Wotan arrives, disguised as the Wanderer and tells Mime that only a hero who knows no fear will be able to mend the sword, and that this hero will go on to kill him. Siegfried returns, impatient and unafraid of the task of killing the dragon, and easily forges the sword.

Interval. Gods and Heros: Donald Macleod talks to John Tomlinson about the flawed God Wotan, and to Daniel Barenboim about Wagner. Wagner's epic Ring Cycle is being performed in its entirety today.

Die Walküre. Act 3
After Siegmund's death Brünnhilde flees to her fellow Valkyries, pleading with them to help shield Sieglinde, now pregnant with Siegmund's child. But they are no match for a furious Wotan. As punishment for defying him, Wotan demands Brünnhilde lie defenceless on a rock to be claimed by the first man to wake her. Brünnhilde persuades Wotan that she should at least be protected by a ring of fire, so that only a true hero will be able to reach her.
Siegmund....Poul Elming (baritone)
Hunding....Matthias Hölle (bass)
Wotan....John Tomlinson (bass)
Sieglinde....Nadine Secunde (soprano)
Brünnhilde....Dame Anne Evans (soprano)
Fricka/Siegrune....Linda Finnie (mezzo-soprano)
Gerhilde....Eva Johansson (soprano)
Ortlinde....Ruth Floeren (soprano)
Waltraute....Shirley Close (mezzo-soprano)
Schwertleite....Hitomi Katagiri (contralto)
Helmwige....Eva-Maria Bundschuh (soprano)
Grimgerde....Birgitta Svendén (soprano)
Rossweisse....Hebe Dijkstra (mezzo-soprano)
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim (conductor).

Die Walküre. Act 2
Wotan wants his favourite daughter, Brünnhilde, to aid Siegmund in his forthcoming battle with Hunding until his wife, the cuckolded Fricka, persuades him otherwise. Wotan backs down and tells Brünnhilde that Siegmund must die. When it comes to it, Brünnhilde can't bring herself to help Hunding, and so Wotan has to intervene and shatter Siegmund's magic sword with his spear, leaving him defenceless.

Die Walküre. Act 1
Sieglinde, Wotan's daughter by a mortal, has been forced into a loveless marriage with Hunding. Siegmund rushes into Hunding's hut to hide from his enemies, and he and Sieglinde instantly fall in love, not yet knowing that they're twin brother and sister. Hunding arrives and, recognising Siegmund as a sworn enemy to his family, demands that they fight the next day. As Hunding sleeps, Siegmund tells Sieglinde that his father promised him that a sword would appear when he most needed it. Sieglinde replies that a stranger buried a sword in an ash tree, which nobody has been able to remove. Siegfried draws the sword and they make their escape together.

Interval - Forging the Ring
Donald Macleod talks to Daniel Barenboim about his approach to the Ring, and also his assistant for this Bayreuth production, Lionel Friend. Plus arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins drops into the studio to share her recent experience of listening to a whole Ring Cycle in a day.

Das Rheingold
Alberich, ruler of the underworld Nibelung people, watches the Rhinemaidens and the gold they are protecting. A ring made from the gold will give its owner great power, but only if he renounces love, a risk Alberich is prepared to take. He steals the gold.
Wotan, the King of the Gods, also needs funds to pay the giants Fafner and Fasolt for building his fortress, Valhalla, otherwise he'll have to keep his promise to give them Freia, the Goddess of Youth. Wotan descends to Nibelheim accompanied by Loge, the God of Fire, where they find Alberich and his brother Mime fighting over the magic Tarn helmet. They soon trick Alberich and capture him, demanding the gold, and the Ring made from it, for his release. As Wotan forces the Ring from Alberich's finger, Alberich puts a curse on it, and anyone who touches it. The gold is duly handed over to the giants, who also demand the Tarn helmet and the Ring from Wotan. But the Ring's curse soon makes itself apparent as Fafner argues with, and kills Fasolt. Wotan leads his fellow Gods over a rainbow bridge to Valhalla, while the Rhinemaidens bemoan the loss of their gold, and Loge predicts disaster for the Gods.
Wotan....John Tomlinson (bass)
Donner....Bodo Brinkmann (baritone)
Froh....Kurt Schreibmayer (tenor)
Loge....Graham Clark (tenor)
Fricka....Linda Finnie (mezzo-soprano)
Freia....Eva Johansson (soprano)
Erda....Birgitta Svendén (soprano)
Alberich....Günter von Kannen (bass)
Mime....Helmut Pampuch (tenor)
Fasolt....Matthias Hölle (bass)
Fafner....Philip Kang (bass)
Woglinde....Hilde Leidland (soprano)
Wellgunde....Annette Küttenbaum (soprano)
Flosshilde....Jane Turner (mezzo-soprano)
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim.

A unique chance to experience over a day the extraordinary musical world of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle. The stellar cast includes Anne Evans as Brünnhilde, Siegfried Jerusalem as Siegfried and John Tomlinson as Wotan.
At the helm of this celebrated Bayreuth recording is Daniel Barenboim, who is giving this year's Reith Lectures. Donald Macleod guides us through the day and talks to Barenboim about his approach to the operas, along with contributions from cast members and Wagner experts. There will also be a host of related activities on the Radio 3 website, including an introduction to The Ring, a leitmotif guide to the recurring musical themes, and creative competitions. And listeners can follow the action with live Opera Text surtitles on the web, digital radio and Freeview digital TV.
Presented by Donald Macleod