Richard Wagner, Musical Mensch
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI [NY Times, 10 Apr 05]
THERE are moments in “Die Walküre,” Wagner’s most humane opera, that never fail to dissolve me, even though I know they are coming. One occurs fairly early in the first act.
During a terrible storm, a sad and fearful young woman trapped in an abusive marriage gives shelter to a rugged and sullen young man who has turned up at her door, injured and exhausted. They are strangers to each other, or so they think. Somehow the woman feels compelled to tell this outcast about her childhood – that a band of brutal warriors ransacked her home, murdered her mother and forced her to marry a boorish clansman. On her miserable wedding night, her new husband’s oafish friends came over to get drunk and ridicule her.
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