2.2 The Ring of the Nibelung


"Der Ring des Nibelungen" is a cycle of four operas written by Richard Wagner between 1848 and 1874. This monumental work represents one of the greatest musical epics in the history of opera and is a fusion of Germanic mythology, Nordic legend, and Wagner's own philosophical and aesthetic ideas.


Cycle of operas:

    1. "The Rhinegold" (Das Rheingold) - 1869
    2. "The Valkyrie" (Die Walküre) - 1870
    3. "Siegfried" - 1876
    4. "Twilight of the Gods" (Götterdämmerung) - 1876


Characteristic Elements:

Wagner employed various elements in his composition, such as Gesamtkunstwerk, which seeks the synthesis of all forms of art (music, poetry, stage design, and drama). In this work, the composer also reflected his philosophical ideas, including his critique of capitalist society, his view of art as a redeemer, and his interest in Germanic mythology as a cultural expression. In relation to the Wagner tuba, one must undoubtedly highlight the use of leitmotif, a technique where each character or musical theme is associated with a distinctive musical motif representing a specific idea, character, or concept. This contributes to the thematic cohesion and psychological depth of the work, specific to characters and situations which create a unity within the work and other works to follow (Ursula Rehn Wolfman, 2013). The Wagner tuba has a very direct relationship with one of the leitmotifs composed for this cycle, the "leitmotif of Valhalla".


"Der Ring des Nibelungen" is not only a musical masterpiece but also a rich and instructive source of symbolic and philosophical meaning that addresses themes of power, politics, forbidden love, spiritual degeneracy and freedom (Roger Scruton, 2016). This work has continued to captivate audiences and critics over the years and is undoubtedly one of the most transcendent works of all time.