Editor's note: Listen at 7 p.m. Thursday as Classical MPR presents an encore broadcast of the Minnesota Opera production of Richard Wagner's timeless Das Rheingold. But first, learn more about the performance in John Birge's 2016 interview with singers Greer Grimsley, Katharine Goeldner and conductor Michael Christie, using the player above.
"Only those of wider consciousness can follow it breathlessly, seeing in it the whole tragedy of human history and the whole horror of the dilemmas from which the world is shrinking today.
George Bernard Shaw wrote that in 1898 about Wagner's opera Das Rheingold, airing at 7 p.m. Thursday in an encore broadcast from Minnesota Opera, and as timely as today's headlines.
It's tempting to conceive of this first opera of Wagner's epic Ring of the Nibelung cycle as a fairy-tale story of gods and goddesses, warriors and wizards. But they're not simple heroes and villains. They're something much more interesting, precisely because they are not godlike. Wagner's gods may be larger than life, but they share our oh-so-human flaws, foibles and frailty.
Small wonder, then, that Wagner's opera of love, jealousy, class warfare, greed, exploitation, power and corruption feels so immediate today. Wagner remains, as he was in life, a political revolutionary. With singers Greer Grimsley, Katharine Goeldner, and conductor Michael Christie, we dive into this timeless opera.