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Das Rheingold: Cast of characters

All photos © Clive Barda/Opera North.

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Jeni Bern as Woglinde, Madeleine Shaw as Wellgunde and Sarah Castle as Flosshilde

The Rhinemaidens

Woglinde, Wellgunde and Flosshilde – the young, beautiful daughters of the Rhine, whose task it is to guard a great treasure, the Rhinegold.

Michael Druiett as Wotan


Chief of the gods. Before the Ring Cycle narrative, he gave one of his eyes to drink from the well of wisdom beneath the World Ash Tree. He broke a branch from the tree and shaped it into the spear that is the symbol of his authority. The wound he inflicted on the tree caused it to wither and die, and the well dry up. Into the spear he carved runes of law, of treaties and of contracts. If he breaks these conditions, he will lose his power.

Andrew Foster-Williams as Donner and Mark Le Brocq as Froh

Donner and Froh

Donner is the god of thunder, and the brother of Fricka, Freia and Froh. He uses his hammer to smash open the heavens and create thunder and lightning. Froh is the god of spring - a sensitive character, in contrast to his warlike brother Donner, and protective of his sister Freia.

Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as Loge


God of fire; has an ambivalent attitude to the gods: ostensibly their ally, he is bitter at their high-handed treatment of him. Sometimes described as the Cycle's sole intellectual, his cunning causes trouble for the gods; his guile gets them out of it.

Yvonne Howard as Fricka and Giselle Allen as Freia

Fricka and Freia

Fricka is Wotan’s wife and guardian of the bonds of wedlock, representing morality and order. She is the sister of Freia, Donner and Froh. Freia is the goddess of love/fertility, and the sister of Fricka, Donner and Froh. Freia keeps the orchard where grow the golden apples that keep the gods eternally young. Her leitmotif establishes the theme of love, with which she counterbalances the power of might and money in the story.

Claudia Huckle as Erda


Ancient earth goddess, older than Wotan, and the mother of the three Norns, 'the eternal woman possessed of all the world's wisdom' (Wagner), with knowledge of the past and foresight into the future. She appears at moments of uncertainty in order to resolve them, but she imparts her wisdom in riddles.

Mats Almgren as Fafner and James Creswell as Fasolt

Fasolt and Fafner

Fasolt is a giant, the more mild-tempered and less greedy brother of Fafner. Having fallen in love with Freia, he is reluctant to sacrifice her for the sake of the Nibelung gold. Fafner is a more violent character who plots to overthrow the gods. After killing his brother and gaining possession of the Nibelung gold, Fafner turns into a dragon, flees to a cave in the east and guards his hoard.

Jo Pohlheim as Alberich


Chief of the Nibelungen race of dwarfs, skilled smiths who live in the subterranean realm of Nibelheim. He gains the power to forge the ring after renouncing love. His brother, the smith Mime, creates the Tarnhelm under Alberich’s direction. Alberich fathers Hagen, the murderer of Siegfried, by Grimhilde, a human woman.

Richard Roberts as Mime


Brother of Alberich - weak-minded and cowardly but a master craftsman. Having found Siegfried in the woods, Mime fosters him with the intention of having him kill Fafner when he reached adulthood, so that Mime can claim the Ring for himself.