What you do need to do is have the audience feel that sadness and upset that Brunnhilde
Alwyn Mellor as Brunnhilde
and Mati Turi as Siegfried made us believe in their devotion by their gestures as well as their voices and Mats Almgren as Hagen projected such toxic badness that you almost felt like booing every time he gave vent to his rumbling bass voice.
Based on these texts and on different incarnations of the figure of Brunnhilde
from Friedrich de la Motte-Fouque and Hebbel to Wagner, Watanabe-O'Kelly extrapolates a pattern that requires that powerful women abdicate power or sacrifice themselves before order can be restored.
The young Siegfried will do so himself and kill Fafner as well as Mime and go on to claim as his bride the Valkyrie Brunnhilde
, who lies sleeping on a mountain surrounded by magic fire.
Between the characters in the title, she considers Elisabeth and Venus in Tannhauser, Elsa and Ortrud in Lohengrin, Brunnhilde
in Der Ring de Nibelungen, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, and Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.
Appearing to then forget about it completely, he continues his adventures, which culminate in his awakening the sleeping Brunnhilde
with a kiss.
Yet its ecstatic moments are many; and when, at the end of the fourth opera, I saw the heroine Brunnhilde
ride her horse into the flames of the hero Siegfried's funeral pyre, and saw the world washed by fire and flood, and heard all the main musical themes of the tetralogy crashing against each other in waves of glorious sound, I had one of the peak experiences of my life.
Instead of the usual rock, Wotan beds Brunnhilde
on one of the washing tables, a prosaic finale.
The most obvious example is Wagner's Ring Cycle, which ends with Brunnhilde
, complete with horned helmet, spear and shield, riding into a funeral pyre.
Indeed, apart from Siegfried's death and funeral music there is nothing more "tragic" in the Ring, in any common-sense view of that word, than Wotan's anguished narrative to Brunnhilde
in Die Walkure 2.
During a duet between Siegfried and Brunnhilde
, Alberto tripped over a board and landed face first in Rita's ample corsage.
It was a performance that was world-class in every detail, from the tumultuous casting of the hero's sword, to the dulcet call of the Forest Bird, and the superheated passion of the climactic duet when Siegfried (John Treleaven) awakens the warrior maiden Brunnhilde
Bodies that more resemble Brunnhilde
than Martha Graham leapt and glided around the room as Siegel counted frenetic rhythm.
In Siegfried almost all the characters, save Brunnhilde
, are in loose-fitting, white pyjamas presenting strong images of sleep and dreams, a clear reference to psychological interior space.
Wagner demands special effects: a rainbow bridge to carry the gods to Valhalla, the magic fire that encircles the sleeping Brunnhilde
, a dragon and the eventual apocalypse in flames.