Siegfried

With Siegfried the most important hero of the entire four-part Nibelungen act takes the stage: The Ring of the Nibelung, it gains the highest power in single combat he defeated the supreme god Wotan and ultimately fought his way to the beautiful, sleeping Brünnhilde.

Act 1

In a cave in the forest, the Nibelung dwarf Mime, Alberich's brother, is forging a sword. Mime is plotting to obtain the ring for himself. He has raised the human boy Siegfried as a foster child, to kill the dragon, Fafner, who guards the ring and other treasures. He needs a sword for Siegfried to use, but the youth has broken every sword Mime 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 Siegfried's 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 then died, giving birth to Siegfried. He shows Siegfried the broken pieces of Nothung, which Mime had obtained from her. Siegfried orders him to reforge the sword; Mime, however, has been unable to accomplish this because the metal refuses to yield to his best techniques.

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 earth, and in the skies. These are the Nibelung, the Giants, and the Gods, as the Wanderer answers correctly. 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 sword that can destroy Fafner; and the person who can repair the sword. Mime answers the first two questions: the Wälsungs and Nothung. However, he cannot 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 taking him to Fafner. 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.

Act 2

The Wanderer arrives at the entrance to Fafner's cave, outside of which Alberich has been keeping vigil. The old enemies quickly recognize each other. Alberich blusters, boasting of his plans for regaining the ring and ruling the world. Wotan calmly states that he does not intend to interfere, only to observe. He even offers to awaken Fafner so that Alberich can bargain with him. Alberich warns the dragon that a hero is coming to fight him, and offers to prevent the fight in return for the ring. Fafner dismisses the threat, declines Alberich's offer, and returns to sleep. Wotan leaves and Alberich withdraws.

At daybreak, Siegfried and Mime arrive. Mime decides to draw back while Siegfried confronts the dragon. As Siegfried waits for the dragon to appear, he notices a woodbird in a tree. Befriending it, he attempts to mimic the bird's song using a reed pipe, but is unsuccessful. He then plays a tune on his horn, which brings Fafner out of his cave. After a short exchange, they fight; Siegfried stabs Fafner in the heart with Nothung.

In his last moments, Fafner learns Siegfried's name, and tells him to beware of treachery. When Siegfried draws his sword from the corpse, his hands are burned by the dragon's blood, and he instinctively puts them to his mouth. On tasting the blood, he finds that he can understand the woodbird's song. Following its instructions, he takes the ring and the Tarnhelm from Fafner's hoard. Outside the cave, Alberich and Mime quarrel loudly over the treasure. Alberich hides as Siegfried comes out of the cave. Mime greets Siegfried; Siegfried complains that he has still not learned the meaning of fear. Mime offers him the poisoned drink. However, the lingering effect of the dragon's blood allows Siegfried to read Mime's treacherous thoughts, and he stabs him to death. Alberich, observing from offstage, laughs sadistically. Siegfried then throws Mime's body into the treasure cave and places Fafner's body in the cave entrance to block it as well.

The woodbird now sings of a woman sleeping on a rock surrounded by magic fire. Siegfried, wondering if he can learn fear from this woman, heads toward the mountain.

Act 3

The Wanderer appears on the path to Brünnhilde's rock and summons Erda, the earth goddess. Erda, appearing confused, is unable to offer any advice. Wotan informs her that he no longer fears the end of the gods; indeed, it is his desire. His heritage will be left to Siegfried the Wälsung, and their (Erda's and Wotan's) child, Brünnhilde, will "work the deed that redeems the World." Dismissed, Erda sinks back into the earth.

Siegfried arrives, and the Wanderer questions the youth. Siegfried, who does not recognize his grandfather, answers insolently and starts down the path toward Brünnhilde's rock. The Wanderer blocks his path, but Siegfried breaks his spear with a blow from Nothung. Wotan calmly gathers up the pieces and vanishes.

Siegfried enters the ring of fire, emerging on Brünnhilde's rock. At first, he thinks the armored figure is a man. However, when he removes the armor, he finds a woman beneath. At the sight of the first woman he has ever seen, Siegfried at last experiences fear. In desperation, he kisses Brünnhilde, waking her from her magic sleep. Hesitant at first, Brünnhilde is won over by Siegfried's love, and renounces the world of the gods. Together, they hail "light-bringing love, and laughing death."

Program and cast

Buy tickets
PreviousOctober 2021
Mo
Tu
We
Th
Fr
Sa
Su
Photo gallery

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport
 

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.
 

Parking



Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.
 

History



The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.

 

On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.

 

The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.

 

On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.

 

The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.

 

Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
©
Related events