Love + Power | The Ring Cycle

Updated : Nov 08, 2019 in Articles

Love + Power | The Ring Cycle


Love in general is the answer to
everything, and that goes through the entire Ring. Wagner seems to been
intrigued by this conflict possible sort of resolution between love and power. The
Ring, as I see it, represents power, something that’s made, that represents
order in the universe because of the perfect circle, and yet there’s this idea
that wherever it goes it causes chaos, calamity, destruction, and then anybody
who owns it and wears it is doomed. The Ring cycle is a is a piece of
work about gods and the family of the gods, and yet all these gods have so much
humanity I mean Wotan really could be seen as the
ultimate villain of the piece. Wotan is the leader of the gods, the
supreme ruler of all things, has this incredible thirst for knowledge first
for power. Wotan is intoxicated by the power of the gold and by the idea
of building Valhalla, of being this great heroic god. The fascinating thing about Wotan is
that he’s the absolute encapsulation of the god who is with human attributes.
They may be gods, they may seem to rule the world, the universe, but in
fact, they have vulnerability, there is possibly an end in sight to their power. If there’s a big heroine in in the entire
ring, it’s Brünnhilde, because she is directed almost all the way of love , as
opposed to greed for power and gold and hatred and all that stuff that makes the world fall to pieces! Brünnhilde is a different kettle of fish. Wotan
describes her as having her mother’s characteristics – Erda, her mother, is
the world’s wisest woman and Brünnhilde has inherited this wisdom from her
mother and because of that she’s Wotan’s favourite child. Yes she’s a Valkyrie
which involves bringing fallen soldiers back from the battlefield and raising
them up to Valhalla to build his army, but he entrusts her with a lot of
personal things as well,she can talk to him like no one else can. He’s the head
of the gods but she can talk to him almost as an equal, and there’s no doubt
that Brünnhilde is number one daughter in his
mind, she is the apple of his eye, she can do nothing wrong, which course makes
it incredibly more poignant later on when he’s got to say goodbye to
her. The last scene of Die Walküre, which is
one of the most powerful parts of the Ring, let’s face it,
and from a musician’s point of view it’s definitely one of the favourites. I mean
dramatically it’s intriguing because her Brünnhilde has disobeyed her father Wotan, and she puts up the most wonderful, extraordinary defence of her actions.
It is absolutely compelling, you’re seeing all of these feelings and
emotions that are flashing from these two gods. The father is so angered and is
dooming her to this curse. The force of their arguments, talking about their
relationship and most importantly when she starts talking about love, it’s
basically like putting an ice cold dagger into his heart. I mean it is extraordinary music so it’s
the opportunity for him to talk about their lives together and in particular it’s all about her eyes and it’s a love song. You see from her all of the extreme
emotion of dealing with giving up the only love and life she’s ever known, even
actually performing it as a performer on the stage I think we in the orchestra
also feel that too. He takes away her godly powers and
isolates her away from everything and puts her to sleep. It’s this dreadful
thing for her, becoming a ‘woman’. This word ‘woman’ is almost like a swear
word to her because she’s a god, but it’s only when she
relinquishes that Gottheit, that divinity, that she realises that she can
love. And he isn’t a god anymore,
he’s a very very sad old man. This idea that whether you can have
power through love or whether you have to renunciate love in order to have
power. To come through these phases of understanding each layer of this love, its immense it’s an experience to sing it and I hope to listen to it,
it’s that same layering of experience as you go through the ring of of learning
about this love that Wagner is expressing in his music.

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