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Siegmund


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(Wagner: Die Walküre). Ten. Twin brother of Sieglinde, son of Wotan by a Wälsung. Siegmund stumbles into the hut of Sieglinde and Hunding and collapses on the floor, where Sieglinde finds him and gives him a drink of water. There is an immediate attraction between them, although they have no idea of their relationship. They share a cup of wine and Sieglinde insists he rest until her husband returns. He tells her that he calls himself Woeful. Hunding returns and is suspicious of the stranger. He tries to persuade Siegmund to reveal his name, which the young man is reluctant to do. As they all sit eating, Sieglinde wordlessly draws Siegmund's attention to a sword buried high up in the trunk of the ash tree. In answer to further questioning by Hunding, Siegmund explains that he is one of twins. One day he came home to find his mother dead and his sister gone. He and his father became separated and since then he has wandered around the earth. He met a young girl being bullied into marriage by her brothers, and he killed the brothers. Now he is being hunted by their friends. To Siegmund's horror, Hunding admits that he is one of them. In the name of hospitality, Siegmund may stay the night. Tomorrow, they fight. After Sieglinde and Hunding have retired to bed, he drugged by his wife, Siegmund remembers his father telling him that ‘in adversity’ he would show him his sword. In the light from the burning fire he sees something shining in the tree to which Sieglinde was earlier trying to draw his attention. Sieglinde returns and explains how the sword comes to be there, thrust there by a stranger during her wedding feast. All attempts to remove it have failed. She has realized that the man must have been her father and only the man for whom the sword was intended will have the strength to withdraw it. Siegmund and Sieglinde declare their love, and gradually they learn that they are brother and sister and that Siegmund is indeed the one for whom the sword was intended. He pulls out the sword, waving it in triumph. Together, they flee from the hut and Hunding. Sieglinde develops a guilty conscience about their incestuous passion, but Siegmund repeats his vows of love. They hear the sound of Hunding's hunting horn approaching and Sieglinde collapses. Brünnhilde appears. She has come to guard Siegmund in his fight with Hunding and to take him to Valhalla. When she confirms that Sieglinde cannot go with them, he refuses to go. She warns him that if he remains where he is, his life is in danger, but he is adamant—he will not leave without his sister. Hunding approaches and the two men fight. Siegmund is about to thrust his sword into Hunding, when Wotan appears and stretches out his spear. Siegmund's sword shatters on the spear and Hunding kills him. Arias: Friedmund darf ich nicht heissen (‘I cannot call myself “Peaceful”’); Ein Schwert verhiess mire der Vater (‘My father promised me a sword’); Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnenmond (‘Winter storms have vanished before Maytime’). Exponents of this role have included Lauritz Melchior, Karl Elmendorff, Max Lorenz, Franz Völker, Ramon Vinay, Wolfgang Windgassen, James King, Charles Craig, Peter Hofmann, Siegfried Jerusalem, Warren Ellsworth, René Kollo, Poul Elming, and Plácido Domingo. Created (1870) by Heinrich Vogl (whose wife sang Sieglinde).

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Subjects: Opera.


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