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A tale that makes you lose track of time

Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs), also called the Ring cycle, is an opera tetralogy composed by Richard Wagner. Ever since this extraordinary work saw its world premiere in Bayreuth in 1876, it’s been counted among the greatest artistic achievements of Western culture. Not only has it reached cult status with its passionate fan base, it also continues to fascinate new audiences. The Ring takes you on a journey; rather than just telling you about fascinating places, it draws you right into the action.

Der Ring des Nibelungen will be staged in a new production, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and directed by Anna Kelo. Creative team also includes Mikki Kunttu, responsible for visual design from lighting to video and set design, as well as Costume Designer Erika Turunen. Two operas of the Ring cycle will be produced each year. Das Rheingold, scheduled for autumn 2019 will be followed by Die Walküre in spring 2020, Siegfried in autumn 2020 and Götterdämmerung in spring 2021.

A truly transformational work of art

Wagner’s decision to write the Ring cycle transformed both opera arts and the composer’s life. He dedicated himself to the Ring  for 26 years with unforeseen ardor. Besides writing the most extensive work of opera in history, he ensured the building of a new venue for the performances and secured the financing for a project of an unprecedented scale.


”The staging must match the grandeur of Wagner’s music. Traditionally, the Ring is a story about love, revenge, power and greed. Behind this epic narrative, however, there are even greater themes: questions and answers about mythology, faith and consciousness. I want my direction to be as layered as the music.”


Das Rheingold – A journey to another realm begins


Part 1 of the Ring saga introduces the central characters and themes, which are developed further as the story continues. According to Wagner, Rheingold was “the preliminary evening of a stage festival play”. Alberich steals the gold guarded by the Rheinmaidens from the river Rhein. He renounces love and forges the gold into a ring, which will give its bearer unlimited power. Wotan, the ruler of the gods, however, also longs for absolute power.

PERFORMANCES 30.8.–18.9.2019

Die Walküre – An opera about the beginning of heroism


Wotan is making Valhalla stronger, fathering Valkyrie daughters who gather the greatest war heroes to protect Valhalla. In a battle against the ruthless Hunding, Wotan swears an oath that he will sacrifice his son Sigmund to safeguard the order of the gods. The growing passion between Sigmund and Sieglinde tempers the chaos of conflict and war with nuances of great love. The story of the lovers gives rise to Siegfried, Part III of the Ring cycle.

PERFORMANCES 15.5.–3.6.2020

Secure your seat – buy a season ticket


Individual tickets for Das Rheingold and Die Walküre will go on sale on 5 August 2019. Secure your seat and buy a season ticket.


Coming in season 2020–21


Coming in season 2020–21

Creative Team


Anna Kelo

At the Finnish National Opera, Anna Kelo has worked first as an Assistant Director since 1994 and as the Chief Assistant Director since 1998. Kelo has previously directed for example Ice (2019) and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (2014) to the Finnish National Opera. In 2016–2017 Kelo supervised the stage direction of Götz Friedrich’s Ring tetralogy for the New National Theatre in Tokyo. Kelo graduated as a Musical Theatre Director from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in 1992.


Erika Turunen

Turunen was the Head of the Costume Department at the Finnish National Opera from 1995 to 2009. She has designed costumes for works such as the Snow Queen (2012), The Little Mermaid (2015) and Land of Kalevala (2017). She has also designed costumes for Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, Royal Danish Ballet, Grand Théâtre de Genève and  the Operas of Malmö and Gothenburg. The costumes of Turunen are said to be art in themselves, poetic and sculpture-like.


Mikki Kunttu

Kunttu is a renowned Finnish lighting and set designer. Besides the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, he has worked with Cirque du Soleil, Norwegian National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and The Boston Ballet. Kunttu is one of the funding members of Tero Saarinen Company and has created the lightning designs and visualization for all Company productions. He has worked as a designer in various TV galas such as the Eurovision Song Contests in Helsinki in 2007 and Malmö in 2013.


Esa-Pekka Salonen

Salonen is principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2016 The Finnish National Opera and Ballet appointed Salonen as Artist in Association for five years. Salonen is currently composer-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic and Artistic Director of Baltic Sea Festival.