The Ring Cycle opera tetralogy is based on Germanic and Nordic mythology.
The Ring consists of four operas - a prelude, Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), then Die Walküre (The Valkyries), Siegfried, and Gotterdåmmerung (The Twilight of the Gods) - in which Wagner met his life's ambition to create a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, a total experience uniting music, poetry, dance, and drama, into one art piece.
Das Rheingold was premiered at the National Theatre in Munich on September 22, 1869, it's first performance as part of the cycle was at Bayreuth on 13 August 1876.
The action opens and ends underneath the Rhine, the longest river in Germany, where the three Rhine maidens, Woglinde, Wellgunde, and Flosshilde, are playing together and protecting a hoard of gold. Can't you just feel the water swirling in this selection from the orchestral prelude?
Rhinegold Opening Orchestral Prelude & Weia! Waga! Wandering Waters (Woglinde)
English National Opera Orchestra, Reginald Goodall, cond., March 1975, Internet Archive
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