Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Rheingold: Prelude or Part 1?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tallisman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    933
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Rheingold: Prelude or Part 1?

    I read somewhere (forgive me for not being able to recall exactly where) that Wagner thought of Rheingold more as a long prelude to the whole Ring, with the successive operas providing both the real narrative and musical meat. I know there are some on this forum who actually prefer it to some of the other parts of the Ring, though I think that's still probably a minority opinion. I suppose my question is intended to gauge the current opinion on Rheingold both as part of the Ring, and as an opera in itself from both the musical and narrative standpoints (obviously it's significantly shorter than the others, but I'd rather focus on the former two aspects). Is it the Runt of the Ring, or as good as the others?

  2. Likes hpowders liked this post
  3. #2
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    8,595
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Rheingold is monumental and I think it's both.
    It is certainly a prelude as it sets the scene for the dramas ahead.
    But it also stands alone as a revolutionary opera.
    Think of operas before it and see what a brilliant, revolutionary work it is.
    Through composed, amazing orchestration and an declamatory style that includes
    much beauty as well.
    And the use of those amazing leitmotives to deepen and tie music, characters, feelings and situations together.
    One of the greatness of Wagner's Ring is that it totally revolutionized opera (music drama) while still being accessible to the masses.

    I also read where Wagner regarded the Ring as a symphonic work.
    Rheingold the opening movement, Walkure the slow second movement, Siegfried the scherzo, and Gotterdammerung as the final, climactic movement.
    Quiet a work!
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-07-2018 at 22:37.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  4. Likes Fritz Kobus, Tallisman, Granate and 5 others liked this post
  5. #3
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Next to Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    10,356
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I also read where Wagner regarded the Ring as a symphonic work.
    Rheingold the opening movement, Walkure the slow second movement, Siegfried the scherzo, and Gotterdammerung as the final, climactic movement.
    Quiet a work!
    Awesome! No need for a thread asking what is the longest symphony. We now know!
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  6. Likes Tallisman, Itullian, Woodduck and 2 others liked this post
  7. #4
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    11,240
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The music of Rheingold has distinctive qualities of its own. It's spontaneous and youthful, and it unveils Wagner's mature technique of building a whole score out of leitmotifs with a delightful clarity and simplicity. This elemental quality suits perfectly the exposition of some of the Ring's major characters and principal dramatic themes, but the outward simplicity is deceptive. What opera ever had a more fascinating beginning than this one, with the birth of the world beneath the waters inhabited by the immortal spirits of Edenic nature, and innocence lost when the gold of consciousness and moral awareness awakens in the primal act of defiance? It's a completely fresh telling of the story of the Fall, but a more psychologically perceptive one than the Biblical one: a moral inquiry rather than a homily. Wagner's portrait of Alberich - here, at the beginning of things, a child almost admirable in the pride of his rebellion against mother nature and exulting in the strength of his new-formed ego - is brilliant.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-07-2018 at 22:33.

  8. Likes Itullian, WildThing, Bonetan and 2 others liked this post
  9. #5
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    8,595
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    And the genius of the final scenes!
    Fasolt lying dead from his brother hand.
    The Gods in their overwhelming pride and egotism, ignoring it like it never happened.
    An the genius stroke of Loge sarcastically lamenting the whole scene while the pompous march to Valhalla is playing loud.
    And wasn't he the instigator?
    Amazing stuff!
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-07-2018 at 21:40.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  10. Likes Woodduck, Bonetan, Barbebleu and 1 others liked this post
  11. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,351
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Die Walküre is called the first day of the Ring, with Das Rheingold the preliminary evening. I don't think it's story is as developed and it doesn't stand alone as well as any of the other operas in the Ring, but it does a fantastic job of setting up all that follows.

    The structure of Götterdämmerung is the same as that of the entire cycle; it is a prologue (that also starts with three mythical characters losing something) and three acts. The prologue is probably no one's favorite part - and how often do opera companies have a break after the prologue!? - but it is important for setting up what is about to happen.

    Das Rheingold also has the same structure as the whole cycle, and if there is a reasonable place for a break it is after the first scene.

  12. #7
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10,921
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    According to Wagner Reingold was the prelude.

  13. #8
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    11,240
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Das Rheingold also has the same structure as the whole cycle, and if there is a reasonable place for a break it is after the first scene.
    Perish the thought! The orchestral transition from scene 1 to scene 2 gives us the crucially important transformation of the ring motif into the Valhalla motif. To interrupt that would be vandalism.

    No breaks. Pee before the performance.

  14. Likes Tallisman, Bonetan liked this post
  15. #9
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    17,102
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Perish the thought! The orchestral transition from scene 1 to scene 2 gives us the crucially important transformation of the ring motif into the Valhalla motif. To interrupt that would be vandalism.

    No breaks. Pee before the performance.
    Wow! I missed the whole thing. But it was #2, so I had an excuse.


  16. Likes Woodduck liked this post
  17. #10
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    11,240
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Wow! I missed the whole thing. But it was #2, so I had an excuse.
    Doesn't it come over the PA in there? Or do they only play C & W?

  18. #11
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    17,102
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Doesn't it come over the PA in there? Or do they only play C & W?
    Golden era stuff. Vanilla Fudge and so forth. Moby Grape too, maybe.
    Last edited by KenOC; Sep-08-2018 at 07:16.


  19. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    758
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Rheingold is definitely the prelude to the work, but I also think it can stand on it's own. I actually prefer it to Walküre. I do love the whole Ring, but I definitely listen to Siegfried most, and probably Rheingold second.

  20. Likes Fritz Kobus, Itullian liked this post
  21. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,351
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Perish the thought! The orchestral transition from scene 1 to scene 2 gives us the crucially important transformation of the ring motif into the Valhalla motif. To interrupt that would be vandalism.

    No breaks. Pee before the performance.
    Oh, I agree, it works best without a break.

    But dramatically if there has to be a break that's where it should be. There's a real story break. And of course scenes 2 through 4 follow Wotan.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •