@ 1:30 PM
At night on the Valkyries’ rock, the three Norns, daughters of Erda, weave the rope of destiny. They tell how Wotan ordered the world ash tree, from which his spear was once cut, to be felled and its wood piled around Valhalla. The burning of the pyre will mark the end of the old order. Suddenly the rope breaks. Their wisdom ended, the Norns descend into the earth.
Dawn breaks and Siegfried and Brünnhilde emerge. Having cast protective spells on him, she sends him into the world to do heroic deeds. As a pledge of his love, Siegfried gives her the ring he took from the dragon Fafner, and she offers her horse, Grane, in return. Siegfried sets off on his travels.
In the hall of the Gibichungs on the banks of the Rhine, Hagen advises his half-siblings, Gunther and Gutrune, to strengthen their rule through marriage. He suggests Brünnhilde as Gunther’s bride and Siegfried as Gutrune’s husband. Since only the strongest hero can pass throught the fire on Brünnhilde’s rock, Hagen proposes a plan: a potion will make Siegfried forget Brünnhilde and fall in love with Gutrune. To win her, he will claim Brünnhilde for Gunther. When Siegfried’s horn is heard from the river, Hagen calls him ashore. Gutrune offers him the potion. Siegfried drinks and immediately confesses his love for her. When Gunther describes the perils of winning his chosen bride, Siegfried offers to use the Tarnhelm to transform himself into Gunther. The two men take an oath of blood brotherhood and set out on their quest.
Waltraute, horrified by the impending destruction of Valhalla, comes to Brünnhilde’s rock, pleading with her sister to return the ring to the Rhinemaidens, its rightful owners, to save the gods. Brünnhilde refuses, declaring she could never part with Siegfried’s gift. Waltraute leaves in despair. Hearing Siegfried’s horn in the distance, Brünnhilde is overjoyed but becomes terrified when a stranger appears before her, claiming her as Gunther’s bride and tearing the ring from her hand.
Outside the Gibichungs’ hall at night, Hagen’s father, Alberich, appears to his son as if in a dream and reminds him to win back the ring. Dawn breaks and Siegfried arrives. Hagen summons the Gibichungs to welcome Gunther, who enters with the humiliated Brünnhilde. When she sees Siegfried, she furiously denounces him, but he, still under the spell of the potion, doesn’t understand her anger. Noticing the ring on Siegfried’s finger, Brünnhilde demands to know who gave it to him, since it was taken from her, supposedly by Gunther, just the night before. She accuses Siegfried of having stolen the ring and declares that he is her husband. Siegfried protests, swearing on Hagen’s spear that he has done no wrong.
Brünnhilde now only wants vengeance. Hagen offers to kill Siegfried, but she explains that she has protected his body with magic—except for his back, which she knows he would never turn to an enemy. Gunther hesitatingly joins the conspiracy of murder.
Siegfried, separated from his hunting party, meets the three Rhinemaidens by the banks of the river. They ask him to return the ring to them but he refuses to prove he doesn’t fear its curse. The Rhinemaidens predict his imminent death and disappear as Hagen, Gunther, and the other hunters arrive. Encouraged by Hagen, Siegfried tells of his youth and his life with Mime, the forging of the sword Nothung, and his fight with the dragon. While he is talking, Hagen makes him drink an antidote to the potion. His memory restored, Siegfried describes how he walked through the fire and woke Brünnhilde. At this, Hagen stabs him in the back with the spear on which Siegfried had sworn. When Gunther expresses his shock, Hagen claims that he avenged a false oath. Siegfried remembers Brünnhilde with his last words and dies.
Back at the hall, Gutrune wonders what has happened to Siegfried. When his body is brought in, she accuses Gunther of murder, who replies that Hagen is to blame. The two men fight about the ring and Gunther is killed. As Hagen reaches for the ring, the dead Siegfried threateningly raises his arm. Brünnhilde enters and calmly orders a funeral pyre to be built on the banks of the Rhine. She denounces the gods for their guilt in Siegfried’s death, takes the ring from his hand and promises it to the Rhinemaidens. Then she lights the pyre and leaps into the flames. The river overflows its banks and destroys the hall. Hagen, trying to get to the ring, is dragged into the water by the Rhinemaidens, who joyfully reclaim their gold. In the distance, Valhalla and the gods are seen engulfed in flames.