℗ © 2013 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin Under exclusive license to Deutsche Grammophon & Decca Classics, U.S., a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Deutsche Grammophon presents a new LIVE recording of Wagner's Siegfried by the Vienna State Opera, conducted by leading Wagner interpreter and conductor Christian Thielemann. Thielemann, a longtime protoge of Karajan, was named the Bayreuth Festival Musical Advisor in 2008. Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) is the last in Wagner's cycle of four operas entitled ,Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
Siegfried - STEPHEN GOULD
Gunther - MARKUS EICHE
Hagen - ERIC HALFVARSON (Acts I & II), ATTILA JUN (Act III)
Alberich - TOMASZ KONIECZNY
Brünnhilde - LINDA WATSON
Gutrune - CAROLINE WENBORNE
Waltraute - JANINA BAECHLE
First Norn - ZORYANA KUSHPLER
Second Norn - ULRIKE HELZEL
Third Norn - ILDIKÓ RAIMONDI
Woglinde - ILEANA TONCA
Wellgunde - ULRIKE HELZEL
Flosshilde - ZORYANA KUSHPLER
Chorus Master - Thomas Lang
Musical Supervision - Jendrik Springer
Musical Preparation - Thomas Lausmann
Conductor of Stage Orchestra - Maksimilijan Cenčić
Plot Synposis (from included liner notes)
On the Valkyrie rock The three Norns spin the rope of knowledge, reporting that Siegfried has broken Wotan’s spear and that Wotan then had the World Ash Tree felled in order to build a funeral pyre from the branches. When Siegfried has freed the world from Alberich’s curse, Valhalla may burn down. But the Norns’ rope breaks; their knowledge is at an end. Siegfried is impatient to perform new deeds of valour. Before he takes his leave of Brünnhilde, he gives her the Nibelung’s ring as a pledge of his faithfulness. She gives him her horse, Grane.
Gunther’s hall by the Rhine
In the Gibichung Hall by the Rhine, Hagen (Alberich’s son, half-brother to Gunther and Gutrune) advises Gunther and Gutrune to marry soon. He has secret knowledge of Siegfried’s imminent arrival. Gutrune must tie him to her by means of a magic potion obliterating all his memories of Brünnhilde; then Siegfried will win Brünnhilde for Gunther. Hagen’s prophecy comes true: Siegfried appears in the Gibichung Hall. The magic potion handed him by Gutrune makes him forget Brünnhilde and fall in love with Gunther’s sister. In gratitude for Gutrune’s hand, Siegfried is prepared to court Brünnhilde for Gunther. An oath of blood brotherhood seals the fateful alliance.
On the Valkyrie rock
Brünnhilde’s thoughts linger with Siegfried. She muses upon the ring, then suddenly from afar she hears the familiar Valkyries’ cry. She joyously greets her sister Waltraute, secretly hoping she has come with a message of Wotan’s forgiveness. The Valkyrie has covertly slipped away from Valhalla to induce Brünnhilde to return the Nibelung’s ring to the Rhinedaughters. But Brünnhilde cannot part with Siegfried’s ring and sends Waltraute away. Siegfried’s horn sounds from afar. Brünnhilde hurries towards her beloved, but is appalled to see a stranger before her; the magic helmet has transformed Siegfried into Gunther’s shape. Hagen’s plan works: Siegfried snatches the ring from the defenceless Brünnhilde and claims her as his bride.
In front of Gunther’s hall
Alberich appears to Hagen, reminding his son to win the ring back for him. Siegfried, who does not understand the ring’s nature, must be destroyed. More for himself than his father, Hagen swears to do the deed. Siegfried returns from his “wooing” expedition. He tells Hagen and Gutrune of his successful mission and announces the arrival of Brünnhilde and Gunther. – With his cowhorn, Hagen summons his vassals from the country to give the happy couple a festive welcome. When the couples are introduced, Brünnhilde is distraught to find that Siegfried, who appears beside Gutrune, does not recognise her. Discovering on Siegfried’s hand the ring seized from her by “Gunther”, Brünnhilde suspects she has become the victim of a deception. She publicly accuses Siegfried of breach of faith. The hero swears an oath on Hagen’s spear that he has kept faith with his blood brother and that his sword separated him from “the sad woman” overnight. Brünnhilde counters with her own oath. Her love has turned to hatred. She allies herself with Hagen to avenge Siegfried’s perjury. She reveals to him that the hero is vulnerable only from behind. Gunther joins the plot hesitantly; “Siegfried is to die” while hunting next day.
Wooded district on the Rhine
The Rhinedaughters greet the sunlight. Siegfried, having lost his way while hunting, announces his approach with a horn call. The Rhinedaughters hope to receive the ring back from him. They flirt with the hero, who at first seems inclined to give them the ring, not knowing its curse. When, however, they pronounce death upon the wearer of it, he is provoked into defiance, unwilling to yield to their threats.
The hunting party catches up with Siegfried. They settle down to rest. Hagen persuades the hero to tell stories of his youth. Siegfried’s thoughts range back to Mime, with whom he grew up, and Fafner, from whom he captured the ring. Now Hagen hands him a potion which restores his memory of Brünnhilde. Siegfried ecstatically relates how he followed the woodbird’s advice and won the Valkyrie as his wife. At this Hagen thrusts his spear into his back, “avenging perjury”. Dying, Siegfried recalls his union with Brünnhilde. He greets her with his last words. The men carry the murdered man away.
The “hunting party” returns home and lays the fallen hero at Gutrune’s feet. Contemptuously, Hagen acknowledges what he has done. When Gunther claims the ring for himself, Hagen kills his half-brother. His own attempt to seize the ring fails, however, when the dead Siegfried raises his arm menacingly. Brünnhilde appears. The Rhinedaughters have told her everything. Gutrune, realizing her own wrongdoing, slumps beside Gunther’s body. Valhalla goes up in flames, the Rhine bursts its banks. The Rhinedaughters receive the ring back and drag Hagen with them into the depths.
Translation: Robert Jordan