I just admire the daring. I just admire the boldness of the whole project. That he risked so much in his life. That he achieved so much. I mean, it takes my breath away.
--John Deathridge on Richard Wagner
Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is a cycle of four epic music dramas by the German composer Richard Wagner (1813–83). The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied. The four dramas, which the composer described as a trilogy with a Vorabend ("preliminary evening"), are often referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagner's Ring, or simply the Ring.
Wagner wrote the libretto and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The four operas that constitute the Ring cycle are, in the order of the imagined events they portray:
Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold)
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Although individual operas are performed as works in their own right, Wagner intended them to be a coherent whole, performed in a series.