The NNTT premiere of Das Rheingold was in March 2001. This is the long awaited revival. The conductor is the popular and accomplished Dan Ettinger who made his Japan debut right here at NNTT. Prominent singers in Wagner repertoire assemble in Tokyo for this production. Jukka Rasilainen from Dresden Semper Oper is Wotan. Thomas Sunnegardh (mainly performs at the Stockholm Royal Opera) is Loge, and Alberich is Jurgen Linn who mainly performs at the Nuremberg State Theatre Opera. Fricka is portraited by Elena Zhidkova who jump up to a star status in Japan with her debut right here at NNTT. This is literally a world class cast.
The three Rhinemaidens are playing at the bottom of the Rhine. The Nibelung dwarf Alberich is making advances to the maidens when he discovers the Rhinegold by chance. The maidens, who guard it, inadvertently tell him that infinite power will be given to the holder of a Ring made from the Rhinegold, but that such a Ring can be created only if the power of love is renounced. Having discovered this secret, Alberich curses love, steals the gold, and runs away. Meanwhile, on a mountain by the Rhine, Wotan, ruler of the gods, is pleased with the completion of Valhalla, which he engaged the giant brothers, Fafner and Fasolt, to build for the gods. The contract calls for Wotan to give them Freia, goddess of youth, as payment. But Freia is the younger sister of Wotan's wife, Fricka, who is displeased with the fact that her sister is the subject of a contract. Wotan, for his part, has no intention of giving them Freia and intends to get Loge, the cunning fire god, to work out a plan for him. As designed by Loge, upon hearing about the Rhinegold, the giant brothers demand the gold instead of Freia. When Wotan, who now wants to keep the gold himself, refuses their demand, the giant brothers take Freia hostage and run away. Partly because of Fricka's wish, Wotan and Loge set out with the aim of taking away the gold. In the underworld of Niebelheim, the dwarf Alberich reigns over the Niebelungs as a tyrant. He forces his younger brother, Mime, to forge a magic helmet, the Tarnhelm, for him. He immediately puts on the helmet to become invisible, and beats those around him as he pleases. Wotan and Loge force Mime to tell them about the situation in Niebelheim. Goaded by the cunning Loge, Alberich changes himself into a toad using the Tarnhelm and is captured easily. Upon returning to the mountain, Wotan gets the Niebelungs to bring the Rhinegold as a ransom for Alberich and takes the Ring by force. In despair, Alberich curses the Ring and goes away. The giant brothers ask for a pile of the Rhinegold, equivalent to the height of Freia as a ransom for her and even demand the Tarnhelm and the Ring to compensate for the shortage. When Wotan refuses their demand, Erda, the earth goddess, emerges to tell him that the fall of the gods is approaching and warns him not to retain the Ring. Wotan makes up his mind to part with the Ring and Freia is finally set free. The giant brothers, as soon as they have possessed the Ring, start to quarrel over how to divide the treasures between themselves, and Fafner kills Fasolt. Soon, Wotan, together with the other gods, crosses a rainbow bridge to Valhalla. Loge, however, fears for the future of the gods, feeling that the fall of the gods is drawing near.