Synopsis by Craig Butler
The first segment of the "Ring" cycle, Das Rheingold is concerned with a precious treasure -- the rhinegold -- which, if made into a ring, would enable the wearer dominion over the world. Power comes with a price, however; whoever would steal the gold would have to renounce love. Alberich the dwarf, rebuffed by the Rhinemaidens who guard the gold, fiercely makes this renunciation, escapes with the gold and makes just such a ring. This theft is made known to the gods Wotan, Fricka and Freia, who are in the midst of a dispute with the giants Fafner and Fasolt. Trickster god Loge suggests that he and Wotan steal the treasure back from Alberich. The dwarf's servant, Mime has fashioned a magical helmet that changes the size or shape of its wearer and makes him visible. Alberich seizes this helmet, and Loge tricks him into becoming a toad, after which he and Wotan capture him. The gods demand that he pay them a ransom of all his gold, forcing Alberich to give them the ring as well. Before he leaves, Alberich places a curse on the ring. The gods now use the riches wrested from the dwarf to pay the giants -- including the ring. The curse causes the giants to fight among themselves, and Fafner kills Fasolt. Wotan then leads the gods to their new home, Valhalla, except for Loge, who refuses to accompany them. As the opera ends, the Rhinemaidens are heard again, mourning for the loss of the rhinegold.
curse, dwarf, gods, gold, love, opera, performer, ransom, world-domination, treasure