2004 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s REIN GOLD reconstructs the events of Wagner’s epic Ringcycle and extends them into the present day. Originally written as a libretto for the Berlin State Opera, REIN GOLD is a’buhnenessay’, an essay for the stage, structured in the form of a dialogue between Wotan, father of the gods, and hisfavourite daughter, Brunnhilde, in the third act of THE VALKYRIE. The book opens with Brunnhilde diagnosing her fatherWotan to be a victim of capitalism because he, too, has fallen into the trap of wanting to own a castle he cannot afford.
In stream of consciousness monologues, Brunnhilde and Wotan touch on a number of events from the days of theNibelungen Saga to the 2008 financial crisis caused by the US subprime mortgage crisis and the role of banks therein, andthrough Marx’s ideas as developed in DAS KAPITAL, written almost contemporaneously with Wagner’s Ring cycle. While rooted in Wagner’s libretto, this sophisticated mesh of interwoven ideas also covers recent and current events,such as the way world leaders act in times of financial crisis, or the murders committed by the German neo-Nazi NSUgroup. Jelinek offers fascinatingly rich context for current political debates, as well as some intriguing new ideas, whilenever straying far from her leitmotif, the birth of capitalism.