‘Das Rheingold’ by Richard Wagner, conducted by James Levine | 1990 | The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus

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Das Rheingold‘ (The Rhine Gold) is the first of the four operas that constitute Richard Wagner’s ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen‘ (The Ring of the Nibelung). It was originally written as an introduction to the tripartite Ring, but the cycle is now generally regarded as consisting of four individual operas.

Das Rheingold‘ received its premiere at the National Theatre in Munich on 22 September 1869, with August Kindermann in the role of Wotan, Heinrich Vogl as Loge, and Karl Fischer as Alberich. Wagner wanted this opera to be premiered as part of the entire cycle, but was forced to allow the performance at the insistence of his patron King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The opera received its premiere as part of the complete cycle on 13 August 1876, in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus.