13. October | 2016
In August 1876, Richard Wagner's opera cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung” premiered at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre. The epochal music drama draws on a number of myths and legends. Apart from Siegfried, Brunhilde, Hagen, and Etzel, a river plays a pivotal role: the Rhine, where the legendary Rhine gold starts off the narrative. Coincidentally, the year 1876 is an important year for river Rhine in an entirely different context, too. The year in which the “Ring Cycle” premiered also marks the conclusion of one of the largest landscape construction projects in recent European history. From 1817 and 1876, the Upper Rhine was shortened by 80 kilometres (!) between Basel and Mannheim.