The Wagner Journal

Christopher Wintle, Wotan’s Offspring: A Clarification

Christopher Wintle, Wotan’s Offspring: A Clarification

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March 2022, Volume 16, Number 1, 62–5.

Yes, opera-goers do read programmes! For the recent Valkyrie at the English National Opera (November–December 2021) I wrote an essay on ‘Staging Incest’. The penultimate sentence read: ‘For, after twenty years of enchanted sleep, Brünnhilde will be preserved, not only as half-sister, step-aunt and surrogate mother to the innocent Siegfried, but also as virgin bride.’ ‘Half-sister?’, I was asked, ‘how come? If Brünnhilde is Wotan’s daughter, and Siegfried his grandson, how can she be a sibling? Step-aunt yes, surrogate mother yes, but half-sister no!’

My answer was, and is, unequivocal: not only can Brünnhilde and Siegfried be described as half-siblings, but rather they must be, if not as siblings tout court.

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