Götterdämmerung premiered here in March 2004. Conductor Dan Ettinger is coming back to the NNTT to wield the baton, as we present the two operas forming the second half of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen". The cast will include world renowned singers that have performed at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. The NNTT has taken all possible steps to ensure the production lives up to high public expectations.
In the Prologue of Götterdämmerung, the three Norns, guardians of fate, recall the events that have led up to the beginning of this final opera of the tetralogy and then prophesize that the end of the gods is at hand. Siegfried and Brünnhilde, united in requited love, sing together ardently, "Getrennt---wer will es scheiden? Geschieden---trennt es sich nie! (Apart, who shall separate us? Separate, we shall never part!)" as Siegfried leaves her for deeds of valor, but the "betrayal," which is to separate the two, is already imminent.
Act I: When the hero Siegfried visits the castle of the Gibichungs, he is given a magic potion that destroys his past memories and quickly forgets Brünnhilde, falling in love with Gutrune. He and Gunther swear an oath of blood brotherhood, and Siegfried promises to win Brünnhilde for Gunther. All this is a plan by Hagen, son of Alberich. Meanwhile, Waltraute comes to Brünnhilde to beg her to return the Ring to the Rhinemaidens, but Brünnhilde refuses to yield the Ring that Siegfried has given her as a token of his love. As punishment for not relinquishing the Ring, Brünnhilde is forcefully taken by a man in Gunther's form (Siegfried has used the Tarnhelm to disguise himself), and the Ring is wrenched from her finger. This is perhaps the cruelest of scenes in the Ring, even if the circumstances under which Siegfried was given the magic potion are taken into account.
Act II: The dialogue between Alberich and Hagen makes it clear that Götterdämmerung represents a proxy war between Alberich and Wotan. In front of guests who gathered to attend Siegfried and Gutrune's wedding feast, Brünnhilde bitterly accuses Siegfried, saying she is his real wife and that she was taken advantage of by him on the night she was forced into the cave. Siegfried, who protests that he followed the tradition of proposing marriage by proxy, has to swear his innocence on the tip of Hagen's spear. Brünnhilde is furious with rage, Hagen is gunning for the Ring and Gunther is disgraced. The three agree that Siegfried must die.
Act III: The Rhinemaidens warn Siegfried about the curse of the Ring, but he rejects their pleas to return it to them. He is then joined by his hunting companions and begins to reminisce about his adventures. Hagen offers him a drink into which he has put an antidote to the earlier magic potion; his memory restored, Siegfried tells how he won Brünnhilde. Hagen stabs him in the back, announcing vengeance. In the hall of the Gibichungs, where Siegfried's body is brought, Hagen claims his right to the Ring and fatally wounds Gunther. When Brünnhilde ignites her husband's funeral pyre and plunges into the flames condemning the gods, the old world ruled by the gods is destroyed by fires and floods. Will a similar history be repeated or will a better world be the outcome after this catastrophe? The end is equivocal.