Götterdämmerung, the fourth of Richard Wagner's four Ring operas. The cast features Manfred Jung as Siegfried and Gwyneth Jones as Brünnhilde, with music provided by Bayreuther Festspiele Orchester conducted by Pierre Boulez. This title is available in a boxed set with the other Ring operas, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Siegfried.
The third opera in Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle, Siegfried follows the adventures of the son of demigods Siegmund and Sieglinde as he conquers his enemies and rescues the beauteous Brunnhilde with the help of his magic sword. This video preserves the controversial 1976 Bayreuth Centenary production, with Pierre Boulez leading the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. Manfred Jung leads the cast as Siegfried, with Gwyneth Jones as Brunnhilde, Donald McIntyre as the Wanderer, and Hermann Becht as Alberich.
This is released as part of Art Haus' Walter Felsenstein edition. Felsenstein, a contemporary of Bertold Brecht, ran the East German Komische Oper from just after World War II to his death. Felstenstein was famous for his ensemble productions and for the enormous amount of rehearsal time that went into his productions.
This is a beautifully conducted and thoughtfully staged performance of the first opera (the prologue) in Wagner's Ring Cycle. As soon as the clouds of mist have dissipated, while the daring, long-held opening chord is still reverberating, the screen clears to show not only the River Rhine and the three maidens (dressed like prostitutes in this production) assigned to guard the gold hidden there. It also shows an enormous dam (not mentioned in Wagner's text). This is the underwater base of a hydroelectric plant, and its presence tells us two things immediately: that this production takes the story out of the vaguely medieval fantasy world in which Wagner had placed it, and that a basic theme of the four-opera cycle would be power. Alberich, the Nibelung, is willing to renounce the love of women, after stealing the gold from the Rhine, to become the ruler of the world. Another basic theme is greed.