Das Rheingold is the first of the four operas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen ('The Ring of the Nibelung'). It was originally written as an introduction to the 3 part Ring, but the cycle is now generally regarded as consisting of four individual operas.
Das Rheingold received its premiere at the National Theatre Munich on September 22, 1869. Wagner wanted this opera to be premiered as part of the entire cycle, but was forced to allow the performance at the insistence of his patron King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The opera received its premiere as part of the complete cycle on August 13, 1876, in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus. This live 1993 Bayreuther production was conducted by Daniel Barenboim.