Richard Wagner’s mammoth work and criticism of his time, Der Ring des Nibelungen, about the creation and end of the world, shows the evil of power and love’s ability to deliver us. The Rhinegold is the first part.
The plot in brief:
Nibelung dwarf Alberich renounces all love to gain access to the magical gold treasure guarded by the Rhine Maidens. He plans to forge an all-powerful ring, giving him dominion over the world. God Wotan has ordered giants Fasolt and Fafner to build a fortress. As payment, the giants have requested goddess Freia, but Loge convinces them to take Alberich’s treasure instead.
The cunning Loge tricks Alberich into demonstrating his newly gained power, and when he transforms into a toad, he is captured by Wotan. Alberich is forced to give up his treasures, and the ring, which he puts a curse on. Having been warned by earth mother Erda, Wotan reluctantly heeds her advice, giving the ring and the rest of the treasure to the giants.
The ring’s curse turns out to be powerful, and Fafner kills Fasolt. The gods make their way to their new home, Valhalla, and the Rhine Maidens lament the loss of their treasure in the distance.