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VIDEO: Gwyneth Jones stars as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner's 'Twilight of the Gods'

Gwyneth Jones stars as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner's 'Twilight of the Gods'
Gwyneth Jones stars as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner's 'Twilight of the Gods'


Richard Wagner's 'The Ring of the Nibelung' is an opera cycle that lasts for approximately 15 hours. This saga consists of 4 operas in chronological order of performance: The Rhine Gold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods.

To give my own summary, the main conflict throughout this cycle is that greed causes others to suffer. The gold from under the Rhine River was stolen, and molded into a magical ring, but it has a curse -- whoever wears it will suffer destruction. Click here for more information about this cycle.

Twilight of the Gods is the last opera in this cycle. This tells about the love story of Siegfried and Brunnhilde (played by Gwyneth Jones). Brunnhilde, to which the ring was given by Siegfried, refuses to return it to the source because it was her souvenir of his love. However, Siegfried was tragically murdered. In the end, Brunnhilde realizes that she would be the vessel through which all of the evil created by the cursed ring would be cleansed.



Here's the opening scene from Act 2 of 'The Valkyrie'


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Gwyneth Jones

The operas of Richard Wagner are very demanding on the voice. It requires huge voices that can sing high and loud, and also cut through thick orchestration -- no joke, the orchestra is HUGE! Starring as Brunnhilde is my opera goddess, Gwyneth Jones. She has one of the biggest voices in opera history, the beauty of a goddess, the determination of steel, and the longevity of undying passion.

Here, she literally burns the house down! Aside from still being active at age 80 and adding more opera roles this 2016, she's also directed some stage productions and is the President of Wagner Society in UK.

"...it wasn't her priority of the top [notes] that damaged her voice but her recklessness... Jones is legendary for NEVER having cancelled a single performance (even when she should have). In the early 1970's she had a spectacularly busy schedule during which she sang through pregnancy and a car accident which temporarily dislocated her Vertebrae.

She didn't rest at all during this time and I think that in moments when she felt that the voice was at less than its best, her response was to push the voice in order to make it do what she wanted. Regardless, she lasted longer than any of her contemporaries and most the women who came before her." 

Gwyneth Jones stars as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner's 'Twilight of the Gods'

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Synopsis


Act 1

At the very prelude is the love duet of Siegfried and Brunnhilde. She sends the hero off so he would go to heroic adventures. However, some people were planning to steal the ring and made Siegfried drink a potion that erased all of his memories, including his love, of Brunnhilde. In an unfortunate act, those who manipulated him, sent him back to where Brunnhilde was -- so he would wrestle the ring from her and take her home as Gunther's wife.





Act 2

Gunther arrives with his bride to be, Brunnhilde. However, when she gets back to her senses she sees her love Siegfried with another woman. This outrages Brunnhilde and throws her into a fury of vengeful intention. Siegfried and Brunnhilde both testify that whoever of them lies would be punished by death, vouched by the spear of Hagen which would pierce one of them to death.




In Scene 5, Brunnhilde, along with Haagen and Gunther plot together to bring Siegfried down. With him as a sacrifice, each of them will achieve their goals -- Brunnhilde would be avenged for being betrayed, Gunther would get the ring, and Haagen would gain power through the cursed ring.





Act 3

The spell wore off and Siegfried recalls all of his lost memory. He tells Haagen and the crowd that Brunnhilde is his true love. With the oath in effect, Haagen thrusts his spear and murders Siegfried. In the final scene of the opera, Brunnhilde realizes her calling and calls for logs to be piled up. She sets Siegfried's body into flames, then she and her horse Grane throw themselves into the fire. Soon after, the whole place burns down and the true owners of the golden ring claim what is theirs. Now the curse has been cleansed. The moral lesson of the story is that a world full of greed will only create suffering for all humanity.



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