Richard Wagner: Das Rheingold

On 22 September 1869, the first part of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen was premiered at the National Theatre in Munich. Contrary to Wagner’s wish not to show the entire Ring until after its completion, Ludwig II pushed through the premiere of Das Rheingold in Munich ahead of schedule. Countless letters document the dispute between the composer and his patron; in the end Wagner stayed away from the premiere by Franz Wüllner and concentrated on founding his own festival at which the entire Ring cycle was to be shown. This did not happen until August 1876, when the first Bayreuth Festival opened.

Photo credit: Wilfried Hösl