@ 1:30 PM
In part three of the Ring, Wagner’s cosmic vision focuses on his hero’s early conquests, while Robert Lepage’s revolutionary stage machine transforms itself from bewitched forest to mountaintop love nest. Gary Lehman sings the title role and Deborah Voigt’s Brünnhilde is his prize. Bryn Terfel is the Wanderer. James Levine conducts.
Mime comes upon Sieglinde in the forest, illustration by Arthur Rackham
Mime, Alberich’s brother, is forging a blade in his cave within the forest. The Nibelung dwarf is plotting to obtain the Ring for himself, having raised Siegfried to kill Fafner for him. He needs a sword for Siegfried to use, but the youth has broken every blade he has made. Siegfried returns from his wanderings in the forest with a wild bear that he caught and demands his new sword, which he immediately breaks. After his tantrum and a carefully studied speech by Mime about Siegfried’s ingratitude toward him, Siegfried comes to understand why he keeps coming back to Mime although he despises him: he wants to know his parentage. Mime is forced to explain how he took in Siegfried’s mother, Sieglinde, who died giving birth. He shows Siegfried the broken pieces of Nothung, which he obtained from her, and Siegfried orders him to reforge the sword, which he cannot do because the metal will not yield to his best techniques.
Siegfried (Heinrich Gudehus) forges Nothung
Siegfried departs, leaving Mime in despair. An old man (Wotan in disguise) arrives at the door and introduces himself as the Wanderer. In return for the hospitality due a guest he wagers his head on answering any three questions or riddles from Mime. The dwarf agrees in order to get rid of his unwelcome guest. He asks the Wanderer to name the races that live beneath the ground, on the surface, and in the skies. These are the Nibelung, the Giants, and the Gods, as the Wanderer correctly answers. Mime tells the Wanderer to be on his way but is forced to wager his own head on three more riddles for breaking the law of hospitality. The Wanderer asks him to name the race most beloved of Wotan, but most harshly treated; the name of the blade that can destroy Fafner; and the person who can make the blade. Mime gives the answer to the first two questions: the Wälsungs and Nothung. However, he is unable to answer the last. Wotan spares Mime, telling him that only “he who does not know fear” can reforge Nothung, and leaves Mime’s head forfeit to that person.
Siegfried returns and is annoyed by Mime’s lack of progress. Mime realizes that Siegfried is “the one who does not know fear” and that unless he can instill fear in him, Siegfried will kill him in accordance with the Wanderer’s prediction. He tells Siegfried that fear is an essential craft; Siegfried is eager to learn it, and Mime promises to teach him by bringing him to Fafner the dragon. Since Mime was unable to forge Nothung, Siegfried decides to do it himself. He succeeds by shredding the metal, melting it, and casting it anew. In the meantime, Mime brews a poisoned drink to offer Siegfried after the youth has defeated the dragon. After he finishes forging the sword, Siegfried demonstrates its strength by chopping the anvil in half with it