2.03.2011

Upon watching Die Valküre



PictureLast weekend I powered through Ring Cycle Part II. What immediately strikes me is the striking contrast in tone from the previous opera. In Das Rheingold there are fantastic visions of the other Nine Worlds, gods and giants and elemental beings and gnomes and rather clumsy mechanical dragons. If there is a sense of largeness it befits the characters upon the stage. Die Valküre creates a singularly different atmosphere. The electrifying overture opens upon the inside of a hovel to which the accursed Siegmund stumbles and faints. Gone are the mist swept heights of Valhalla and the straight and tall (though sadly impotent) gods. The earthiness, the messy humanity is tangible even in the first few moments.
I think the humanity of this opera invited me to personalize the actions more easily than the previous. Particularly stirring is Siegmund's hopeless cry as he calls upon his dead and mysterious father and the key to his identity, "Volsa, Volsa!" The humanity of Siegmund and Sieglinde leaks into the world of the gods as James Morris and Hildegard Behrens create a touching relationship between Odin and his daughter Brünnhilde. Sob!
Once again, here's some armchair psychotherapy:
  1. Communication, people! Odin, if your daughter is truly the embodiment of your will, you probably should state in clear and unambiguous terms exactly what you want to things like this don't happen. Brünnhilde, don't try to guess the unspoken desires of your father's wishes. Talk it out.
  2. Marrying your sister = bad.
  3. Be wary that your revived warrior corpses may have shifted to rekill each other during flight.
Here's to number three!

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