Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods) is the last in Richard Wagner's cycle of four music dramas entitled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods) is the last in Richard Wagner's cycle of four music dramas entitled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). It received its premiere at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 17 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring. The title is a translation into German of the Old Norse phrase Ragnarök, which in Norse mythology refers to a prophesied war among various beings and gods that ultimately results in the burning, immersion in water, and renewal of the world. However, as with the rest of the Ring, Wagner's account diverges significantly from his Old Norse sources.
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He was a theatre director, conductor and composer who greatly influenced the development of classical music. Most famous for his operas or “music dramas”. He is particularly known for his rich harmonies, orchestrations, complex textures and use of “leitmotif”; a recurring themes or harmonic progression associated with individual characters, places or plot elements. Unusually Wagner also wrote the libretti to his stage works. Wagner had his own opera house built in Bayreuth, which embodied many novel design features that included darkening the auditorium during performances and placing the orchestra in a pit out of view of the audience. It was here at Bayreuth that the “Ring Cycle” received its premiere and where his most important stage works continue to be performed in an annual festival run by his descendants. His life was characterised by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music, drama and politics also attracted extensive comment and criticism.