Die Walkure & Siegfried

Or the one with the bit that everybody knows and the difficult one…

Wotan has sired three children, Brunnhilde who leads the Valkyrie and collects dead warriors to protect Valhalla from Fasolt, and Siegmund and Seiglinde. Siegmund and Seiglinde find each other and fall in love, but Fricka condemns it as incest and insists that Wotan does not aid them. Brunnhilde is charged with ensuring that Siegmund loses in a fight to Hunding (Seiglinde’s wife) but cannot because they are in love. Seigmund is killed and Brunnhilde protects Seiglinde, who is with child. Wotan cannot kill his favourite child but instead banishes her to eternal sleep until she is awoken by someone without fear.

Sieglinde dies during childbirth and the child (Siegfried) is raised by Mime (Alberich’s brother) in order to kill Fasolt and regain the ring. Siegfried is very stupid and reforges Nothubng and kills Fasolt, but also Alberick and Mime. He is confronted by Wotan and shatters the World Ash Tree, condemning the gods to die. He discovers Brunnhilde on a rock and fears her because he has never seen a women before – he then mistakes her for his mother! The two fall in love and vow to destroy Valhalla.

I’m now fourteen hours into the cycle – it feels like I’ve watched maybe and hour and a half at most. It is by turns heartbreakingly romantic and just a balls to the wall adrenalin rush. It is also absolutely fantastic. No matter how much you have heard the Ride of the Valkyrie nothing prepares you for the sheer volume that Act III of Die Walkure begins with. Siegfried is notoriously difficult to listen to (it is very much a bridge between Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung) but makes much more sense when seen rather than described.

Apparently the next full cycle by an English language company (but in the original German) is New York 2009 – I’m considering it.

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