Das Rheingold ("The Rhine Gold") is the first of the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner. Das Rheingold was originally written as an introduction to the tripartite Ring; however, the cycle is generally regarded as composed of four individual operas.
The scale of the whole work is established in the prelude, over 136 bars, beginning with a low E flat, and building in more and more elaborate figurations of the chord of E flat major, to portray the motion of the river Rhine. It is considered the best known drone piece in the concert repertory, lasting approximately four minutes.
The curtain rises to show, at the bottom of the Rhine, the three Rhine maidens, Woglinde, Wellgunde, and Flosshilde, playing together. Woglinde begins an innocent song whose melody is frequently used to characterise the Rhine maidens later in the cycle. Alberich, a Nibelung dwarf, appears from a deep chasm and tries to woo them. Struck by Alberich's ugliness, the Rhine maidens mock his advances and he grows angry. As the sun begins to rise, the maidens praise the golden glow atop a nearby rock; Alberich asks what it is. The Rhine maidens tell him about the Rhine gold, which their father has ordered them to guard: it can be made into a magic Ring which will let its bearer rule the world, but only by someone who first renounces love. They think they have nothing to fear from the lustful dwarf, but Alberich, embittered by their mockery, curses love, seizes the gold and returns to his chasm, leaving them screaming in dismay.
The following video is a story -- a do-it-yourself opera, really -- about corruption, and apparently Ellen was in on this "pro se matter" from the beginning!
The NO DIVING sign in the video reminds me of an earlier post on this blog: