Second Day of "Der Ring des Nibelungen"

Composer Richard Wagner · Libretto by Richard Wagner
In German with English and German surtitles

Monday, 16. March 2015
05:00 pm – 10:30 pm

Duration est. 5 hours 30 minutes · 1. Aufzug (est. 05:00 pm - 06:20 pm ) · Interval (est. 06:20 pm - 07:00 pm ) · 2. Aufzug (est. 07:00 pm - 08:15 pm ) · Interval (est. 08:15 pm - 08:55 pm ) · 3. Aufzug (est. 08:55 pm - 10:15 pm )

Prices L , € - /- /- /91 /- /- /- /-

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Musikalische Leitung
Kirill Petrenko
Andreas Kriegenburg
Harald B. Thor
Andrea Schraad
Stefan Bolliger
Zenta Haerter
Marion Tiedtke
Olaf A. Schmitt

Stephen Gould
Andreas Conrad
Der Wanderer
Thomas J. Mayer
Tomasz Konieczny
Christof Fischesser
Qiu Lin Zhang
Catherine Naglestad
Stimme eines Waldvogels
Iulia Maria Dan
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Only an individual without fear can turn Mime’s dream into reality, forge the shattered sword anew, slay Fafner the dragon, snatch the ring away from him and walk straight into Mime’s knife – and all the power will be Mime’s. But he himself is too frightened of the Wanderer, in whose puzzle game he loses his head, of the dragon, whom he wants his foster son to slay, of his brother, whom he meets in the forest, and of the fearless Siegfried, who thanks to a message from a prophetic bird helps himself to the ring and slaughters Mime.

But Wotan’s plan for a free hero also comes to naught: Siegfried smashes his spear with the sword and stands fearlessly before Brünnhilde. The sight of her body sets him atremble, and he finally learns the true meaning of fear. In the glow of the sun, the two discover their love.

Mountain cave. Forest. Wilderness. Mountain peak. The second day of the work belongs to nature. But the guise of the harmless, nature-loving Wanderer fails to protect the father of the gods from his curse.


Past History

The giant Fafner, in the form of a dragon, guards the Ring which Alberich, the Nibelung, forged from the Rheingold and which gives the person possessing it great power. Alberich’s brother, Mime, a blacksmith, is brooding about how to re-possess the ring with the help of his foster son Siegfried. Siegfried is the son of the Wälsungs Siegmund and Sieglinde and was left in the care of Mime by his mother as she died giving birth to him, all she left him was the name Siegfried and the pieces of Siegmund’s smashed sword Nothung. Mime has a plan, of which Siegfried is ignorant, namely that Siegfried is to kill the dragon and bring him the Ring.

Wotan had smashed the sword with his spear so that Siegmund would be killed by Hunding in a fight. Because, however, his daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, wanted to protect Siegmund, Wotan punished her by condemning her to sleep. At Brünnhilde’s request the rock on which she was to lie was encircled by fire from which only a fearless hero would be able to claim her.

Act One

Mime is trying desperately to fashion a sword worthy of Siegfried. When he returns from the woods with a bear to frighten Mime, Siegfried shatters the new sword. Only when Siegfried pesters him to tell him something about his origins does Mime tell him the story of his birth and show him the fragments of his father’s sword Nothung. Siegfried challenges Mime to forge a new sword for him out of the pieces.

Wotan, disguised as a Wanderer, comes to see Mime and persuades him to take part in a wager of knowledge, the forfeit being the head of the loser. The Wanderer has no trouble answering Mime’s questions about the people who inhabit the bowels of the earth, the earth and the cloudy heights. Mime is able to answer the question about the Wälsungs and the name of the sword Nothung with which Siegfried must kill Fafner. He is, however, unable to answer the third question about who is forging the new sword and thus loses the wager. The Wanderer explains to him that only a fearless hero would be able to do this and leaves Mime’s forfeited head to this hero.

Mime is afraid and asks Siegfried if he has ever known fear, but this is something Siegfried has never experienced. Mime hopes that Siegfried will learn what fear is from Fafner. Faced with Mime’s inability to fashion a new sword, Siegfried succeeds, against all the rules of the trade, in doing it himself. Meanwhile Mime mixes a potion with which he plans to kill Siegfried once he has brought him the sword.

Act Two

Alberich is lying in wait outside Fafner’s cave in order to regain possession of the Ring once the giant is dead. He realizes the true identity of the Wanderer who comes by and who warns him about Mime and Siegfried. Alberich suggests to Fafner, who has been woken by the Wanderer, that he will thwart Siegfried’s attempt to kill him in return for the Ring, but Fafner merely yawns and declines. Mime has led Siegfried to Fafner’s cave and leaves him there with orders to kill the dragon. Left alone in the woods, Siegfried’s thought turn longingly to his unknown mother. A singing woodbird catches his attention but he fails in his attempt to copy the bird’s song with his horn. He has instead woken Fafner with the sound of his horn. Siegfried kills him with his sword. Once he has tasted the dragon’s blood on his lips he is able to understand the woodbird, who advises him to fetch the Ring and the Tarn helmet from the cave and warns him about Mime.

Alberich angrily refuses Mime’s off er to share the treasures Siegfried has acquired and hides. Wh en Siegfried returns with his booty, Mime off ers him the poisonous potion as refreshment. The dragon’s blood has, however, made Siegfried able to realize Mime’s true intentions. He kills his foster father. Once again he hears the song of the woodbird telling him the way to Brünnhilde’s rock, where he is to rouse the woman from her sleep.

Act Three

The Wanderer rouses Erda from a deep sleep; she had once warned him about his own downfall and is the woman with whom he fathered Brünnhilde. Initially remembering her knowledge about how he could prevent the end she had prophesied, he sees her wisdom fade. He tells her about his plan for Siegfried, who will soon, together with Brünnhilde, redeem the world and sends her to everlasting sleep.

Accompanied by the woodbird, Siegfried encounters the Wanderer, who does not want to allow him access to Brünnhilde’s rock. Instead he asks pertinent questions to ascertain how much Siegfried knows about his mission. Wh en he realizes that Siegfried is completely without fear he holds out his spear towards him. Siegfried recognizes his father’s murderer and shatters the spear with his sword. The Wanderer disappears, the way to Brünnhilde is now open.

Striding through the fire, Siegfried finds the sleeping Brünnhilde. When he removes Brünnhilde’s protective shield he sees a woman for the first time in his life. He thinks what he feels is fear and wakes Brünnhilde with a kiss. She sees in him the hero with whom she will realize Wotan’s plans, the twilight of the Gods. Siegfried overwhelms her with his love, to which they both abandon themselves.

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Kirill Petrenko was born in Omsk in 1972 where he studied piano at the College of Music. At the age of eleven he gave his first public performance as a pianist with the Omsk Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 his family (his father a violinist and his mother a musicologist) relocated to Vorarlberg where his father worked as an orchestra musician and music teacher. Petrenko first continued his studies in Feldkirch before moving to Vienna to study conducting at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts. 

His first job after graduation took him directly to the Vienna Volksoper where he was hired by Nikolaus Bachler as Kapellmeister. From 1999 until 2002 Kirill Petrenko was General Music Director at the Meininger Theater. It was in 2001 in his role as conductor of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, in the production by Christine Mielitz and with scenery by Alfred Hrdlicka, that he first achieved international acclaim. In 2002 Kirill Petrenko became General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin where, until 2007, he was credited with a series of highly significant productions.

During his time in Meiningen and Berlin his international career also began to flourish. In 2000 Kirill Petrenko made his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in 2001 at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Dresden Semperoper, in 2003 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Metropolitan Opera and in 2005 at the Oper Frankfurt. In Lyon, in collaboration with Peter Stein, he conducted all three Pushkin-inspired operas by Tchaikovsky (Mazeppa, Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame) from 2006 until 2008, which were also performed as a cycle in early 2010.

After moving on from the Komische Oper Berlin Kirill Petrenko worked as a freelance conductor. During this period his projects included conducting a new production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa (Production: Barbara Frey) at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2009. In Frankfurt he conducted Pfitzner's Palestrina (Production: Harry Kupfer) and Puccini's Tosca (Production: Andreas Kriegenburg). In 2011 he worked on two new productions of Tristan and Isolde at the Opéra National de Lyon and at the Ruhrtriennale.

To date, the most important orchestras Kirill Petrenko has been invited to conduct include the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the BR Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerische Staatsorchester, the WDR Cologne Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic and the NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Opern- und Museumsorchester, the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Kirill Petrenko has also conducted concerts at the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. From 2013 to 2015 he swung his baton for the new production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen during the Bayreuth Festival.

Since September 2013 Kirill Petrenko has been General Music Director at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He has held this position until the end of the 2019/20 season. Since 2013, he has taken to the rostrum for premieres of Die Frau ohne SchattenLa clemenza di TitoDie SoldatenLucia di Lammermoor, Lulu, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District and Tannhäuser as well as the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s South Pole and a revival of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen among other works. In June 2015, Kirill Petrenko was named future Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, starting this position in autumn 2019.

In the current season at the Bayerische Staatsoper Kirill Petrenko led an new production of Verdi's Otello  and Strauss' Salome. Furthermore, Kirill Petrenko conducts revivals of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fidelio, and Parsifal as well as two Academy Concerts with the Bayerische Staatsorchester.

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