are the three water-nymphs (Rheintöchter
or Rhine daughters
) who appear in Richard Wagner
's opera cycle Der Ring Des Nibelungen
. Their individual names are Woglinde, Wellgunde
, although they are generally considered as a single entity and act together accordingly. Of the 34 characters in the Ring
cycle, they are the only ones who do not originate in the Scandinavian Eddas
. Other legends and myths on which Wagner drew, notably the Nibelungenlied
, include stories that involve water-sprites (nixies)
or mermaids, and it is likely that he created his Rhinemaidens from these sources. The key concepts associated with them in the Ring
operas—their flawed guardianship of the Rhine gold, and the condition (renunciation of love) through which the gold could be stolen from them and transformed into a means of world power—are wholly Wagner's own invention, and are the elements that initiate and propel the entire drama. The Rhinemaidens are the first and the last characters to be seen in the operas, appearing both in the opening scene of Das Rheingold
, and in the final climactic spectacle of Götterdämmerung
when they rise from the Rhine waters to reclaim the ring from Brünnhilde
's ashes. The various musical themes associated with the Rhinemaidens are regarded as among the most lyrical in the whole Ring
cycle, bringing to it rare instances of comparative relaxation and charm. It is reported that Wagner played their famous lament at the piano on the night before he died in 1883.
A scene from Mascagni's opera Cavalleria rusticana in which Santuzza begs Turiddu not to join his lover Lola inside the village church. His angry refusal leads Santuzza betray him to Lola's husband who ultimately kills Turiddu in a knife duel. Cavalleria rusticana, which premiered in 1890, was Mascagni's first and most popular opera. There have been over 100 full-length recordings of the work since it was first recorded in Germany in 1909.