There’s wonderful singing in the Met’s current production of Wagner’s Siegfried. But poor old Siegs. If he’d started a blog, I think his first post would have gone something like this.
My crappy childhood
Hello everyone. My name is Siegfried. No last name, just Siegfried.
I was raised in a lonely forest by an ugly old dwarf. He kept saying I should be grateful to him, but I could tell he wasn’t being level with me. Ha ha, that’s a joke! How could he be level with me, him being a dwarf and me a tall blond Aryan hero? Just a sample of my excellent German sense of humor.
My parents were siblings. Isn’t that illegal? I’m pretty sure it’s illegal. Anyway, they’re dead now. And I only had one set of grandparents, which explains the lack of birthday presents.
The only good thing I got out of my childhood was my sword, Nothung. I’ve used it a few times now.
For example, I killed a giant, but the dwarf made me do it. And besides, the giant was disguised as a dragon, and I think if you go around dressed like a dragon you’re pretty much asking for it.
From the dragon I got a super cool ring and this gold mesh thing that I carry around with me. Who knows, it might come in handy some day.
After killing the dragon, I tasted its blood on my sword, the way you do, and suddenly I could understand this bird that was singing to me. I can honestly say “a little bird told me” that the dwarf was planning to kill me. So it’s okay that I killed the dwarf, right? I mean, that was totally self-defense.
My grandma was some random chick that my grandpa shagged when he should’ve been home with his wife. Grandpa calls himself “chief of the gods,” by the way. Talk about being full of yourself!
He didn’t look like a god when I met him. He was wearing a hat and an eyepatch and calling himself The Wanderer, like in that old song by Dion and the Belmonts.
He didn’t say, “Hi, I’m your grandpa.” Instead he challenged me to a fight, which of course I won. I mean, I have a sword with a name and everything, whereas all he had was a feeble old spear.
Do you think there’s something Freudian about that? My sword is harder than your spear? I’m not that heavy into psychology, but a sword and a spear, those two things kind of raise up and ask you to pay attention.
Speaking of which, I asked the bird if it could find me a friend, or at least someone who wouldn’t try to kill me. Sure, Siegs, it said, follow me.
That’s how I met Brunnhilde. She is one hot chick. (Another joke! To get to her I had to walk up a mountain through actual fire!)
I kind of lost track of time for awhile, hanging with Brunnie, but then I got itchy feet. I mean, I’m a dude, right? And I know, just like it’s written down somewhere, that I’m destined to be a great hero.
So I told Brunnie it was time for me to go. She was down with it. She even gave me her armor, her shield, and her magic flying horse, leaving herself totally defenseless on the mountain. Did I luck out with her or what?
Like a true nature child
But, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be faithful to Brunnie. Like we said on the mountain, “Apart, who can divide us? Divided, we are one!” I even gave her my ring.
And then I stepped out on the highway, looking for adventure. Born to be wild! And now I’ve met this friendly and majorly rich family who’ve offered to share everything they have with me.
But I don’t know. That sounds good, but have you ever had the feeling that you’re caught up in some kind of epic? Like someone else is pulling the strings, and even the words you’re saying aren’t your own?
I could ask my new friends, the Gibichungs, but they’d just laugh and tell me I’m being paranoid. Maybe I am. Being raised by a dwarf who’s planning to kill you, it changes a guy. Maybe I’ve got PTSD.
But I can’t shake off this feeling that –
Oh wow, here comes Gutrune Gibichung with a drinking horn full of brew!
I’ll finish this later.
Looking forward to your comments!
If you’re wondering how it turned out for Siegfried: in the next and last opera in the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung, one of the big set pieces is Siegfried’s Funeral March. So I don’t think he’ll be writing any more blog posts.
Check here for my take on another opera, Turandot.
All illustrations by Arthur Rackham; published before 1923 and in the public domain in the U.S. and other countries.