For many, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (also known as The Ring of the Nibelung and the Ring cycle) isn’t just an opera—it’s the opera. Ring nuts from all over the world flock to productions; it’s referenced in pop culture constantly, from Bugs Bunny cartoons to the film Apocalypse Now. (Google it and be amazed.) This year marks the first time that the four-part masterpiece is staged in its entirety in Los Angeles, and cultural events celebrating the cycle are happening countywide. Das Rheingold and Die Walküre kick off the cycle on May 29 and 30, respectively, followed by Siegfried on June 3 and Götterdämerung on June 6. The production is led by L.A. Opera conductor and music director James Conlon, and features futuristic, otherwordly staging by Achim Freyer. And Ring Festival events—including exhibitions, symposia, museum shows, conferences and special events—take place all month; go to ringfestivalla.com for more details.