A tale in images of Der Ring des Nibelungen for which inspiration was sought in Steampunk. The images were generated with AI software.
After Das Rheingold, Wotan not only fathered eight children with Erda, the Valkyries, but he also fathered the Walsungen twins Siegmund and Sieglinde. Wotan also had time between operas to stick a sword in a tree, Notung. A weapon for times of need, for him who deserves it.
She found him after a violent storm in the house. It took her a while to recognise in the stranger her long lost brother, the love of her life. After everything Sieglinde had to endure, she no longer dared to hope for a little bit of happiness in her life.
The man she was forced to marry, Hunding, was not the most sensitive of characters. That is not to say he was a man without honour. That stranger who seemed to have a kinship with his wife could stay a night but the next day he would be food for the dogs.
Hojotoho! For Brünnhilde, life is a tremendous exciting affair. And soon she is going to assist Siegmund, the one and only true hero of this whole story, in his fight with Hunding. Life is coughing up roses.
Fricka turned a blind eye to it for a while, Wotan's cheating. But now enough is enough. Wotan must withdraw his support for Siegmund and support Hunding. A marriage must be honoured. And if Wotan has any love for power, he will make sure that he himself abides by the rules he imposes on everyone else. She comes in hard on him, on her husband the chief god. With cool headed arguments she shatters Wotan's illusions of freedom and love. Both old-fashioned and ahead of her time she is: Fricka, the old storm, the old party pooper.
It is one of the most recognisable tunes in music history. The sonic storm on which the Valkyries bring dead heroes to Valhalla on their steam-powered horses. The Walkürenritt is exactly the boost this opera needs after the dramatic second act (in which Siegmund is killed by Wotan's intervention, Wotan has angrily gone after Brünnhilde and Sieglinde has fled into the forest with the fragments of Notung).
All the drama that has preceded finds a climax in Wotan's moving farewell to his daughter Brünnhilde, which may be considered one of the most beautiful moments in all of opera.
For her who was once his favourite daughter, Wotan had in mind an honourless sleep, in a stove in an old factory far away. Eventually, his anger soothed and he summoned Loge, who was after all the God of Fire, to light the stove. Only the bravest hero will dare to risk his hands on the furnace fire that now protects Brunnhilde. We meet that hero in the next opera: Siegfried.
Wotan's Farewell (bonus reel)
Audio: George London (Leinsdorf, 1961)
Software: StableDiffusion XL, Photoshop, After Effects
- Wouter de Moor