In response to criticism from others that I tend to write too many words, I’m describing the complete narrative of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle in precisely 300 words, just to demonstrate that I’m capable of simplicity, brevity, and conciseness, and that I can condense something as immensely complicated, perplexing, and convoluted as Wagner’s madness, “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” The Ring of the Nibelung.
As a matter of fact, my little introduction here is also exactly 300 words, but I’m not calculating the words in the two titles in this total. So this is pretty damn concise, wouldn’t you say?
Wagner’s music is better than it sounds! Opera is a magic scene contrived to please the eye and the ear at the expense of understanding! Wagner’s operas consist of some wonderful moments but awful half hours! Well, I’ve now solved that problem. Yes, it’s all you need to know about the entire 18-hour, 4-opera marathon (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, Die Götterdämmerung) in only 300 words, which can be read in just two minutes, or less than one fifth of 1 percent of the time it takes you to listen to the whole damn cycle. I tried to reduce it to exactly the same number of words as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which is exactly 268 words, but it really doesn’t take any longer to read than that does. – Opera would be a lot more enjoyable if it wasn’t for all that vocal racket! Eat your heart out Canadian Opera Company!
So here you have it, the complete Ring of the Nibelung in just two minutes. It’s 300 words, right on the button. Sit back, and relax. Don’t bother making a cup of tea; you’ll be finished reading this before the tea is ready. Are you comfortable? OK, here goes:
Wagner’s Ring Cycle in (exactly) 300 Words:
Evil dwarf, Alberich, wants some Rhinemaiden action. When rejected, he steals gold and makes a powerful ring. Meanwhile, Godfather Wotan, who is somewhat full of himself, builds Valhalla with the help of two giants in exchange for Freia. Wotan thinks he’s sneaky enough to keep Freia: but it’s Giants 1, God 0.
Nasty god, Loke, has a plan: steal ring and get Freia. Plan works, except for curse on ring. One giant kills the other and Wotan is warned bad times loom. He promptly sires two mortal children and eight Valkyries to collect warriors in hope of getting ring back.
The two kids, Siegmund and Sieglinda, get a little too cosy with each other (yuk), spawning Siegfried, who is a bit of a tool. Oh, and Siegmund finds magic sword in a tree and Wotan’s wife says Siegmund is a dog and must die. Über-Valkyrie, Brünnhilde, rebels and saves Sieglinda, who is taken in by the evil dwarf’s evil brother and promptly dies in childbirth.
Siegfried, who has no fear, is used by evil dwarf brother to challenge the remaining giant for the ring. Then he kills evil dwarf brother and sets off to find Brünnhilde, who’s no longer a Valkyrie but sleeps in a ring of fire. He breaks Wotan’s super-magic walking stick and it’s bye-bye Wotan, bye-bye God power.
Not content with Brünnhilde’s love, Siegfried leaves to be a hero. He’s fooled by a puppet king and his evil adviser, who happens to be the son of evil dwarf. There’s some very confusing stuff involving magic and marriages of people who aren’t who they say they are, but suffice to say Siegfried ends up with a spear in his back. Brünnhilde reclaims the ring and gives it back to the Rhinemaidens. Valhalla burns; Rhine rises.
Sad business, really.