|From the cover of the CD that started it all...|
Next to me in the darkness during Act I, tiny intakes of breath marked the sympathetic following of Siegmund's misadventures. In the first interval, once she could speak coherently, she said that her favorite moment had been the orchestral passage signaling the coming of spring. In her idol she was not disappointed. I swear she nearly cut off circulation to my fingers during Act II. Afterwards, when she'd finished using my handkerchief, she asked how Act III could possibly not be anticlimactic. Still trembling myself, I mentioned the Ride of the Valkyries and reminded her of the Wotan-Brünnhilde confrontation to come. "Yes..." my mother sighed. Then she remembered that Sieglinde still had to find out she was going to have a baby, and cheered up a bit. I gave her the handkerchief again at the end. "Oh, Lucy..." she breathed. "I know," I said. We applauded. We left the opera house arm in arm. My mother occasionally said again, "Oh, Lucy!" or observed that they all acted as well as singing. I concurred that this was great. Wasn't it terrible when Wotan held out his arms to Brünnhilde for their last embrace, and then he made her mortal and she collapsed? Terrible and wonderful. "And Siegmund touches Sieglinde as though she's precious!" I agreed. And we happily dissected and compared our favorite bits over our post-opera supper, and over breakfast the next morning. So, apparently, more than four hours of Wagner dealing with questions of free will, divine and human law, and the nature of love itself is my mother's accessible opera. The woman never ceases to amaze me. She had one more question after the opera: "Remind me: when do tickets for Kaufmann's recital go on sale?"