Set in legendary times, Das Rheingold is the prologue to Richard Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, otherwise known as the Ring Cycle, a revolutionary series of four operas through which Wagner introduced a new approach to writing and staging opera. This approach included the use of vocal presentation (much like dialogue in a play) and an unusually weighty role for the orchestra, which was charged with narrating the storyline and conveying deep psychological and philosophical messages.
Full of excess and excellence, the Ring Cycle is best experienced in small doses, and Das Rheingold, the first of four feasts, is the shortest of them all. Technically a one-act opera, it lays the groundwork for the subsequent operas by suggesting that the world’s corrupt and degenerate state may only be remedied by the birth of a great hero (the product of a noble love story). With this “task” in mind, we enter a saga of love, greed, deception, and betrayal, all related through Wagner’s music and an opera that has maintained its appeal since its first performance in 1869.
Tickets to the Minnesota Opera’s production of Das Rheingold are not included in tuition. However, registered participants will receive information about receiving a 20-percent discount on tickets to the performance of their choice.
Tuition includes continental breakfast.
Daniel Freeman, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has taught courses in music history at the University of Minnesota, the Smithsonian Institution, and other universities throughout the world. Considered the world’s leading historian in the field of 18th-century Czech music, Freeman is both a musicologist and pianist. His research has included studies on 18th-century keyboard music, baroque opera, the musical culture of 18th-century Bohemia, and the music of composers Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi. His most recent book is Mozart in Prague (Bearclaw Publishers, 2013).