The Ring of the Nibelung - Siegfried
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
The second day
A scenic festival in three days and one eve; First performed on 16th August, 1876 in Bayreuth; Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 24th March, 1985
In German with German surtitles
“The “Time Tunnel” also served as the architectural base in SIEGFRIED. But it would appear that the audience was quite relieved about not having to see the tunnel displayed so prominently right from the first scenes of the SIEGFRIED acts, down to the end of the 2nd scene, as had been the case with DAS RHEINGOLD and DIE WALKÜRE. Our notion was that Mime had built a children’s world for Siegfried in the tunnel. Peter Sykora created it, emulating the patchwork in the children’s room of our son Johannes. The smithy was half built on the lower stage, a dramaturgic reminiscence of Nibelheim. The forest in Act Two was fashioned by military camouflage nets that initially also concealed the dragon before he crashed into the open as a fire-spouting monster. The dying Fafner was revealed looking like a tank brigade commander who, drenched in blood, opens the pulpit in order to predict the future path for Siegfried. The forest bird was to be the first incarnation of the feminine that Siegfried experiences. This is why the bird sang in the open, in the flight machinery. The forest of camouflage nets disappeared at the end of Act Two, when Siegfried seeks a passage to the woman on the rock in the tunnel of time. Sykora surrounded Erda who surfaced from the lower stage with information technology totems. The Wanderer who stands on a platform above her, banishes her together to the underworld with her knowledge. Siegfried comes upon the Wanderer in front of a wall. You can see that there is a fire glowing behind the doors. The Wanderer pushes open one of these, offering Siegfried a path to either destruction or survival. Together with his broken spear the old God wends his way backstage looking like a burnt-out actor from a bygone era. From the rear, out of the tunnel vault Siegfried approaches Brünnhilde in the final scene. He awakens her to a new but ultimately painful life as a human being.” [Götz Friedrich, 1990]
“The fairy tale motives that played so central a role in Chéreau´s interpretation of the work have been largely sacrificed to metaphor and a symbolicist approach. Out of these elements Götz Friedrich has created a stringent interpretation of the drama of emphatically convincing single scenes, (with the exception of the final duet) especially in Mime´s murder fantasy and death at the end of Act Two. A fact that is dramaturgically a major improvement, - Siegfried´s questions and Mime´s reluctant explanations in Act One are no longer a tedious recapitulation of the story so far. Siegfried’s distaste of Mime’s grovelling quest for love along with his dreams of his Mother feed upon each other and at the end the image of the Siegfried as a killer devoid of feelings is finally thrown overboard. Mime, too, is not just a calculating poisoner who has been waiting for a very long time. Götz Friedrich sees him as a sick man right from the Act One. When Mime alternates between failing to control his own thoughts and garrulously confiding the evil that lurks within him he appears to be auto-destructing in his final and deeply disturbing scene. Siegfried killing Mime is no longer the long overdue and subsequently justifiable elimination of a detestable character; it has now become a kind of necessary accident that puts an end to the protracted illness.” [Norbert Miller, Süddeutsche Zeitung].
Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance