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RICHARD WAGNER'S DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN

Siegfried, Act III

It is night - the weather is stormy: there is thunder and lightning. Wotan, still disguised as the Wanderer, can be seen standing before a vault-like hollow in a rocky mountain. With a spell-song he wakens Erda the Earthmother herself, saying that he wants information. Erda is tired and asks why Wotan did not ask the Norns first. Wotan replies that the Norns can only perceive things: they cannot alter what is to come. Next Erda suggests that Wotan seek Bruennhilde's advice - she is very wise. But as Wotan tells about what has befallen on Bruennhilde, Erda is utterly bewildered. Wotan is disappointed in Erda's inability to give him any advice. He tells Erda about Siegfried, the _free_ hero and says that he will gladly accept anything all this leads to. He lets Erda fall back down to her slumber and leaves to meet Siegfried.

Siegfried meets Wotan at the base of the mountain on the top of which Bruennhilde lies. "Wanderer" (Wotan) interviews Siegfried about his newest heroic deed. But the disrespectful Siegfried talks to him so abusively that he eventually gets mad with anger. The furious Wotan blocks Siegfried's way with his Runespear and tells Siegfried to flee lest his spear break Nothung once more. Siegfried knows he has now met the person responsible for his father's death and as a vengeance breaks Wotan's Runespear in two with Nothung: there is a crack of thunder and Wotan (according to his own words) loses all his might. He flees and Siegfried ignores him, starting his climb up to Bruennhilde.

Siegfried goes through the enchanted fire and finds Bruennhilde there, thinking her to be a "man". But as Siegfried realizes she is definitely not a man, but something different, he shudders: for the first time in his life, he experiences fear. Unsure of what to do, Siegfried tries first to waken Bruennhilde, then kisses her. And by this kiss Bruennhilde is awakened.

Bruennhilde is ecstatically joyous to see that her awakener really is Siegfried. But as she sees her valkyrie battlegear and her steed, she is reminded once more of her glorious past. She realizes that she can never get that back again. But then the passion toward Siegfried takes over her, and she cares no more for Valhalla. They declare their love to each other and Siegfried has readily forgotten the fear he had just learned. Bruennhilde falls in Siegfried's arms, leaving her past life behind her, for good.

Next:Götterdämmerung, Preludes

Topi Ylinen (f1toyl@kielo.uta.fi)