A sweet drink of creamy rich mead you will not refuse from me.
a storm rages, Siegmund the Wälsung, exhausted from pursuit
by enemies in the forest, stumbles into an unfamiliar house
for shelter. Sieglinde finds the stranger lying by the hearth,
and the two feel an immediate attraction.
But they are soon interrupted by Sieglinde's husband, Hunding,
who asks the stranger who he is. Calling himself "Woeful,"
Siegmund tells of a disaster-filled life ("Friedmund
darf ich nicht heissen"), only to learn that Hunding
is a kinsman of his foes.
before retiring, tells his guest to defend himself in the
morning. Left alone, Siegmund calls on his father, Wälse,
for the sword he once promised him. Sieglinde reappears,
having given Hunding a sleeping potion.
tells of her wedding, at which a one-eyed stranger thrust
into a tree a sword that thereafter resisted every effort
to pull it out ("Der Männer Sippe"). Sieglinde
confesses her unhappiness to Siegmund, whereupon he ardently
embraces her and vows to free her from her forced marriage
Strange and brutal tales you tell us, bold guest.
moonlight floods the room, Siegmund compares their feeling to the
marriage of love and spring ("Winterstürme"). Sieglinde
hails him as "Spring" ("Du bist der Lenz") but
asks if his father was really "Wolf," as he said earlier.
When Siegmund gives his father's name as Wälse instead, Sieglinde
rapturously recognizes him as Siegmund, her twin brother.
A dream of love comes to my mind, burning and longing I have seen you before.
Wälsung now draws the sword from the tree and claims
Sieglinde as his bride, rejoicing in the union of the Wälsungs.
in the mountains, Wotan, leader of the gods, tells his warrior
daughter Brünnhilde she must defend his mortal son
Siegmund. Leaving joyfully to do his bidding ("Hojotoho!"),
the Valkyrie pauses to note the approach of Fricka, Wotan's
wife and the goddess of marriage.
insists he must defend Hunding's marriage rights against
Siegmund, ignoring Wotan's implied argument that Siegmund
could save the gods by winning back the Rhinegold from the
dragon Fafner before the Nibelung dwarfs regain it.
Distress for the gods!
Wotan realizes he is caught in his own trap - his power will leave
him if he does not enforce the law - he agrees to his wife's demands.
After Fricka has left in triumph, the frustrated god tells the returning
Brünnhilde about the theft of the gold and Alberich's curse
on it ("Als junger Liebe")
When I fought as I wished how light it was!
is shocked to hear her father, his plans in ruins, order
her to fight for Hunding. Then, alone in the darkness, she
withdraws as Siegmund and Sieglinde approach.
comforts the distraught girl, who feels herself unworthy
of him, and watches over her when she falls asleep.
appears to him as if in a vision, telling him he will soon go to
Valhalla (Todesverkündigung: "Siegmund! Sieh auf mich!"),
but when he says he will not leave Sieglinde and threatens to kill
himself and his bride if his sword has no power against Hunding,
she decides to help him in spite of Wotan's command. She vanishes.
Siegmund bids farewell to Sieglinde when he hears the approaching
Siegmund is about to win, however, Wotan appears and shatters
his sword, leaving him to be killed by Hunding. Brünnhilde
escapes with Sieglinde and the broken sword. Wotan contemptuously
fells Hunding with a wave of his hand and leaves to punish
the Valkyries' Rock, Brünnhilde's eight warrior sisters
- who have gathered there briefly, bearing slain heroes to
Valhalla - are surprised to see her enter with Sieglinde.
they hear she is fleeing Wotan's wrath, they are afraid to hide
her. Sieglinde is numb with despair until Brünnhilde tells
her she bears Siegmund's child.
to be saved, she receives the pieces of the sword from Brünnhilde
and ecstatically thanks her rescuer as she rushes off into
the forest to hide near Fafner's cave, a place safe from
the god appears, he sentences Brünnhilde to become
a mortal woman, silencing her sisters' objections by threatening
to do the same to them. Left alone with her father, Brünnhilde
pleads that in disobeying his orders she was really doing
what he wished ("War es so schmählich")
Was it so shameful what I did that you punish my misdeed so shamefully?
Farewell, you bold, wonderful child!
will not relent: she must lie in sleep, booty for any man
who finds her. But as his anger abates she asks the favor
of being surrounded in sleep by a wall of fire that only
the bravest hero can pierce. Both sense this hero must be
the child that Sieglinde will bear.
Sadly renouncing his daughter ("Leb' wohl"), Wotan
kisses Brünnhilde's eyes with sleep and mortality before
summoning Loge, the spirit of fire, to encircle the rock.
flames spring up, the departing Wotan invokes a spell forbidding
the rock to anyone who fears his spear (Fire Music).
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