The Ring of the Nibelung - The Valkyrie
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
A scenic festival in three days and in an eve; First performed on 26th July, 1870 in Munich; Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 6th October, 1984
In German with German surtitles
|Set design, Costume design||Peter Sykora|
|Siegrune||Dana Beth Miller|
|Orchestra||Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin|
Since the procession of the Gods to Valhalla, many things have changed on the surface of the Earth, as well as above and below grounds. Wotan is consumed by fear and impatience in the dream fortress that has cost him so dearly. He is afraid of Alberich´s onslaughts, and Erda´s dire prediction. Fear that is unleashed in terror, war, destruction and mutual antagonism has become the prevalent emotion in the endgame phase the RING has reached in THE VALKYRIE.
Wotan´s dilemma is a major one. He has devised two plans to counter the fear that Alberich´s curse might be fulfilled, and Erda´s prediction might become a reality too soon.These two concepts of Wotan´s, how they relativize and ultimately cancel each other out, these concepts define the new dramaturgy of the VALKYRIE.
With a force of expression that drives the intensity of musical expression well beyond its normal confines, the paradoxes that finally cause the “Wotan affair” to lead to the Fall of Wotan are opened up anew. The conflict between his utopian concept and his obligations towards his God-hood bring about Wotan´s doom. The divine anarchist who wanted a “top-down revolution” has failed.
“I desire just one more thing: the end!” When she hears her Father uttering these words, Brünnhilde is far from realizing how seriously she will be taking his word, at the end of days, at the TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. Alone with Wotan at this point, in the midst of destruction and emptiness, she is a witness to the self-dissection of Wotan the God. During the monologue with Brünnhilde “mit mir nur rat’ ich, red’ ich zu dir” (with myself alone I hold counsel, if I speak to you), Wotan is finally transformed into the most tragic protagonist of the RING. Here Wagner condenses the “sum total of the intelligence of his times” that he experienced and suffered through, caught up in the unmitigated tension between values to be conserved and the revolutionary change to be endorsed. Brünnhilde now sees herself responsible for the continuation of the idea in the midst of the downfall of the formerly divine. Siegmund´s refusal to follow her to Valhalla provokes Brünnhilde to fundamentally question everything she has thought, believed in and done. For the first time she sees herself confronted with somebody who would rather go to Hell than follow her to the hollow illusion of Valhalla.Through Sieglinde she for the first time receives an idea of love that is prepared, even within this framework, and at all times to uncompromisingly break away from divine preconceptions and dive into the depths of human suffering.
When Brünnhilde opts for this idea, she boldly attempts the humanization of the divine, yet again, anew, and in her own way. Defying Wotan´s command, she tries to protect Siegmund – without success -, and she wants to save Sieglinde and her unborn child. Wotan´s punishment for her insubordination is cruel. He banishes Brünnhilde from her elitist circle. She is to be helplessly exposed to everyone who crosses her path. But Brünnhilde is Erda´s daughter, too, and she loves her Father. She wishes to be surrounded by a fire that can only be overcome by someone whose courage denotes freedom. In this way she salvages her vocation, and she also allows the abdicating God to retain the melancholic poise of untainted dignity. It is with helpless pride in the midst of his sorrow and with great tenderness that Wotan releases his daughter to the dangerous adventure of humanity: “Denn so kehrt der Gott sich dir ab, so küsst er die Gottheit von dir!” ( Thus does the God turn his back on you, and thus does he kiss away your divinity)” (Götz Friedrich, 1984).
Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance