News from Nibelheim: What Exactly is Nibelheim?

Voss-FrancescaZambello-21FINAL_cropNibelheim is a place inhabited by people called the Nibelung. One of the defining characteristics of the Nibelung is their short stature. (Some of you may also know them from your kids’ video game called Final Fantasy). Here in the Domain of Alberich, who has renounced love to take possession of the gold, the Nibelung are working to forge the actual, ultimate power-giving ring.

But wait a minute… who really are our Nibelungen? You know, I’m always happy for any opportunity to get young people involved in the opera, so for WNO’s production of the Ring, we’ll be casting children dressed as the slaves of Alberich. Sometimes, I playfully call them the Munchkins. (Fun fact: Did you know there were 124 original Munchkins in Oz?!)

We have 50 Nibelungen, so we need to start recruiting new ones, since it’s been eight years since we last staged this opera. All of the kids in our first batch are now in college, and many fell in love with opera for the first time because of their experience. If your kid is under 5’0” tall and between the ages of 7 and 17—and if he or she (OR YOU!) wants to be a coal-carrying, gold bag-dragging, wall-climbing worker in the underground depths of the set of Nibelheim in The Rhinegold—then please contact our supernumerary coordinator Elizabeth Ventura at

– Francesca Zambello, WNO Artistic Director and Ring director


The Nibelungen in The Rhinegold: