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“Hey who's been going German on the title. It sounds like a rhino's coming to bed in Hitlerland.”
“The scene opens in the river Rhine... in it. If it were in New York, it would be like the Hudson. (An actual quote.)”
Das Rheingold is the first opera in Richard Wagner's tetralogy, "Der Ring des Nibelungen". It is a notably environmentalist work, but very controversial, as many modern historians and musicians consider it to hold a hidden message to rob those who dare to swim in the Rhine river. Unlike the other three operas (The Battery, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Sods), the Rhinegold has no human characters, only gods and Nordic mythological creatures, as well as three water-dwelling humanoid samba dancers from Albania.
Wotan. Also designated Big Daddy. His mad ambition eventually leads to the destruction of the sods.
Loge. The fire-sod. Considered an outsider by the other sods, he is also considered by some to have organised the asassination of Lady Diana Spencer.
Frya. Originally named Holda, she was renamed Frya after the terrible and tragical Frying Pan Incident of 1992.
Donner. Wotan's most trusted electrician.
Froh. Donner's brother; a die-hard hippie.
Erda. The leader of the Anglo-Iranian Envoromentalist party. Appears in the opera in the form of a horrifying green-faced torso.
Danny DeVito. Danny is one of the main antagonists in the opera. He is a sexually frustrated Jewish dwarf who used to star in low budget horror movies. The other Nibelungs (all of whom are very anti-Semitic) threw him out of Nibelheim once they found out about his Jewish ancestry.
Mime. Danny's brother. He is a computer nerd and makes powerful gadgets for the Nibelungs.
Fasolt. A world-famous basketball player, he is about twelve feet tall.
Fafner. Fasolt's evil twin, also a basketball player.
edit The Rhinemaidens
Woglinde, Wellgunde and Flosshilde. They are by far the most popular characters in the opera, (a) because of being half-naked throughout the play, and (b) due to the fact that they continuously slip Albanian phrases into their singing (such as Wagala weia! Wallala, weiala weia!).
edit Scene I
The river Rhine. The Rhinemaidens (Albanian immigrants to Germany) are swimming in the Rhine (their home, as they cannot afford decent housing). They are guarding the Rhinegold, their only possession in the whole world. A Jewish Nibelung dwarf, Danny DeVito, comes and tries to seduce them, but when they find out that he hasn't been circumcised, the Rhinemaidens are disgusted and send him away. Having failed to get the girls, Danny settles for the next best thing: he steals their lump of gold and fashions a magical ring out of it with which he may rule the world.
edit Scene II
Tibet. Wotan and Freaka awaken and see their newly built hacienda, Valhalla, in the distance. Wotan is exceptionally happy, but Freaka is terrified that the giants who built it won't be satisfied with their payment: the sod Frya. When the giants Fasolt and Fafner come, infuriated at having seen how repulsive Frya was, demand better payment. Wotan calls on the fire-sod, Loge, for help. Loge suggests to sneak into Nibelheim (the top-secret, guarded compound where the Nibelungs grow pot) and steal their money so they could pay out the giants. Wotan accepts, and the two of them descend to Nibelheim.
edit Scene III
Nibelheim. Danny has forged the ring and has proclaimed himself the Boss of Nibelheim. He is whipping his brother Mime because he failed to address him as the "Godfather". Mime has, however, made a strange bowler-hat called the Tarnhelm that allows the wearer to turn himself into anything they want. Danny goes to torture some of the other Nibelungs. Wotan and Loge arrive and start questioning Mime about the illegal pot-growing operation. Danny DeVito returns with a band of armed thugs and is furious that intruders have entered the compound. He draws out the ring and all of the Nibelungs suddenlly flee in terror, maddened by the ring's terrible might. Loge asks Danny to demonstrate his power by turning himself first into Chuck Norris, and then into something less frightening, such as a toad. When Danny has turned himself into a toad, Wotan and Loge catch him and take him back to Tibet.
edit Scene IV
Tibet. Wotan and Loge take their prisoner before the other sods and force him to hand over the money. Danny is forced to comply, but puts a terrible curse on the ring before he returns to Nibelheim. Wotan is ready to pay the giants, but is reluctant to give the ring away. Erda, the world famous tree-hugger, appears, as I have said above, in the form of a zombie-like, frightening green-faced torso (at least, that's as much of her anyone's ever seen). She warns Wotan that the curse is very powerful and he agrees to give the ring to the giants, who are happy when they see the cash but immediately start fighting over it and Fafner kills Fasolt (the curse is obviously working). Fafner takes the money, releases Frya and the sods celebrate. Donner (a part time DJ) conjures some lightning and Froh, a retired hippie, creates a magical rainbow, which the sods use to cross over to Valhalla.