The second day of the tetralogy “Ring of the Nibelung” in three acts (four paintings)
R. Wagner’s libretto
The traveler (the god Votan)
Mime, blacksmith, nibelung
Alberich, his brother
Erda, the goddess of fate
Voice of a bird
Boy or soprano performs
The action takes place in the forest and in the mountains in fairy-tale times.
In the dense forest lives a blacksmith – a dwarf Mime with the boy Siegfried. Mime calls him son, but Siegfried does not believe this and hates his cowardly, ever-complaining educator. The smith can not shackle any sword that the boy would not break, playfully. Finally, Mime reveals to Siegfried the secret of his birth: one day a dwarf met a tortured woman named Sieglinde in the forest and brought her to his house; there she gave birth to a son and soon died. Before death, the mother gave the boy a name and asked him to give him the fragments of his father’s sword – Notunga. Siegfried is happy – now he is free, has nothing to do with the hated nibelung and can set out to wander around the world. Let only the blacksmith scoops him from the wreckage of Notung’s sword on his arm. Mime is left alone in vain meditation; he knows that work is beyond his power. The Traveler enters the hut; he is wrapped in a cloak, A wide-brimmed hat is hung over his forehead, a spear in his hand, at the end of which the lightning flashes. Frightened Mime drives the uninvited guest away, but he already sat down by the fire. He proposes that the smith ask him three riddles: he puts his head in a mortgage. Mime comes up with more difficult questions – about nibelungs, giants and gods. The traveler, without hesitation, answers them, and, in turn, asks him three questions. The dwarf can not answer the last: who is scampering the invincible Notung? Laughing, the Traveler answers himself: the sword is scooped by one who does not know fear, and he will get a mortgage of the match-the head to Mime. Left alone, the dwarf in horror recalls that the only thing he forgot to teach Siegfried is
fear. Siegfried comes back and again demands a sword from the smith. Seeing the wreckage, he himself takes up the matter: melts the metal, and starts to forge. The sword goes to glory;
At night, in the thicket of the forest, at the entrance to the cave, Nibelung Alberich meets the Traveler. In the cave lies a golden treasure and a ring that gives unlimited power over the world. Having taken him once deceit from Alberich, the supreme god Votan gave the treasure to the giants in payment for the impregnable fortress they built, Valhalla. One of the giants, Fafner, killed his brother and, turning into a dragon, lay down in a cave, guarding the treasure. Nibelung is powerless to fight the dragon, and Wotan must abide by the treaties he has concluded. But Alberich still dreams of power over the world and revenge the gods. The same dreams own his brother Mime. For that, he raised Siegfried to get the ring of the Nibelung by the hands of a young hero who knew nothing of his magic power. To teach Siegfried a sense of fear, Mime led him to the cave of the dragon. Tired by the long journey, Siegfried lies down to rest under the lime tree. Listening to the rustle of the sunlit forest, he plunges into dreams. Before him comes the singing of a bird, and Siegfried tries to start a conversation with her, imitating her playing with a pipe. But the pipe breaks in his strong hands, and Siegfried sounds sonorous in his horn. Aroused by the noise, a dragon crawls out of the cave. But Siegfried does not fear at the sight of the monster and boldly kills him. A drop of the dragon’s hot blood burns his hand and, mechanically slipping the blood with his tongue, Siegfried descends into the cave – maybe there he will meet fear? And in the woods, at the entrance to the cave, the brothers-nibelungs Alberich and Mime are loudly arguing: each of them wants to take hold of Siegfried’s treasure and a magic ring. Mime meets the hero with an obsequious smile and suggests refreshing himself with a prepared drink. But Siegfried suddenly hears in his words a completely different, genuine meaning:
Siegfried slays Mime and, with Fafner’s body, throws him into the cave. In the forest you can hear the laughter of Alberich: the curse that gravitates over the ring continues to act – it brings destruction to everyone who wishes to have it. And Siegfried again lies down under the lime tree and listens to the singing of the bird. But – a strange thing! – now he understands her: she sings about him, about his battle with the dragon, about the dragon blood, which taught him to understand the language of birds and the secret meaning of human words. And then, – Siegfried jumps up and in the excitement runs after the bird – she talks about the rock, surrounded by a flame, and about the beautiful girl sleeping there by a magic dream.
On a stormy night, in the light of lightning, the supreme god Votan conjures from the earthly bowels Erdu – the goddess of fate, to again learn from her about the future of the world. But since Erda gave birth to Wotan the Valkyrie Brünnhild, she lost her prophetic gift: her mother’s wise wisdom passed to her daughter. Can not answer Wotan and Brunhild – he renounced his daughter when she violated his will. And now the supreme god voluntarily and joyfully renounces the rule over the world: a young hero is approaching, not knowing fear, free from the power of the gods. Having seized the ring of the Nibelung, who does not know its price, he will save the world from the curse of gold. It’s brightening. The storm subsided. From a distance comes the singing of a bird. Siegfried appears after her. A frightened bird flies away: before Siegfried, the Traveler appears in a dark cloak and a broad-brimmed hat; his spear blocks the way to the rock. In vain, the Traveler warns the young man of the dangers that threaten-Siegfried is determined to achieve his goal. Then the Traveler raises the spear, on which lightning flashes. But Siegfried fearlessly reveals his Notong, and the spear of the Lord of the Gods, who once smashed the sword in the hands of Zygmund, breaks in half. The Wotan disappears.
The fiery shaft opens before the young hero, and on the top of the rock he sees a sleeping warrior in glittering armor. Siegfried removes his helmet from his head, cuts his mail with his sword – in front of him is a beautiful girl. An unknown feeling envelops Siegfried – is this not fear? – and he kisses her. Enchantments are dispelled, and Brunhilda awakens to a new life, to earthly love.